Florida Premises Liability for Assault and Other Crimes

Panama City Beach will increase its security resources for spring breakers this year. The Panama City Beach City Council approved an increase of $150,000 for security resources, with the intent of keeping residents and visitors alike safe. This story highlights the responsibility that business owners and other organizations have to make sure that the places they invite the public are safe and secure.

It is plain to see that business owners owe an obligation to the public to keep their place of business safe from avoidable accidents and injuries. If you are injured at a store or other place because the owner failed to keep their place of business safe, you can expect to be compensated for any injury you suffer as a result. This is the heart of negligence law. But you may not realize that businesses also owe an obligation to keep the public safe from third party crimes committed on their property, under certain circumstances.

Legal Position of the Injured Person

If you were the victim of a crime at a business or property of another, your ability to recover for any harm you suffered will depend on what your legal position was at the location. Florida law recognizes two categories of legal position on the property of others: people who are invited, and people who are not invited, or are trespassing. If you were not invited to be at the property of another, the property owner or business will most likely not be liable for any harm that comes to you due to the crimes of another. Most businesses, parks, and other public locations invite the public to come to their property, and as a result owe a duty to the public to prevent certain crimes from happening on their property.

Type of Crime

An important part of premises liability law in Florida is that property and business owners will not be liable for all types of crimes committed on their property. To be liable for the crimes of another person that takes place on their property, the crime has to be foreseeable. Whether any crime is foreseeable can be difficult to prove. But there are some factors courts use to decide whether a crime was foreseeable:

  • Is there a high rate of crime in the area?
  • Have there been similar crimes at this place or in this area?
  • Are area crimes similar to this crime?
  • How long ago were similar area crimes committed?

Answering some of these questions will help decide whether a property or business owner will be liable for crimes committed on their property. The bottom line is that property owners must take all reasonable measures to ensure that the people they invite onto their property remain safe. This does not necessarily mean that every business has to hire a full-time security staff, but it does put an obligation on property owners to take reasonable measures to prevent likely crime that could hurt their invitees.

At The Pittman Firm, Wes Pittman will work tirelessly on behalf of victims who are hurt on the property of others. Florida law protects each of us from the negligence and unreasonable acts of others, and Wes Pittman will fight to enforce those laws.

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