Crystal Ball Crime Prevention: What You Need To Know About Florida's Tangled Premises Liability Law

Posted on: 22 January 2016

Have you been injured on someone else's residential or commercial property in Florida, due to a crime being committed there? You may be able to sue the owner of the premises for personal injury under Florida's premises liability law. However, when you bring the case to court, you will likely discover that the actual law essentially requires the owners of the premises to be fortune tellers, and the way each judge assesses a property owner's psychic abilities is quite subjective. This confusion between the actual Florida statutes, the courts, and lawyers regarding the law means you need an extremely well-qualified and experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

The Basics of Florida Premises Liability Law When It Comes to Crimes

Crimes can happen on both commercial and residential property, usually in the form of theft, battery, and rape. If you were injured on someone else's property due to a crime being committed there, the law in Florida does allow you to sue if a very important criteria is met. That criteria regards the property owner's foreknowledge of the likelihood of a crime being committed there. This means you can sue the property owner if you believe the property owner had a good idea that a crime could be committed there and did not tell you. This puts the property owner in the position of needing a crystal ball regarding crime, so they can tell you personally, put up a warning sign, or take reasonable measures to prevent it.

The Way the Law in Florida Determines a Property Owner's Foreknowledge

If the house or business where the crime was committed is in a high crime area, the property owner is expected to know the risk and reveal it to you. In other neighborhoods that aren't known for crime, it becomes much murkier. Lawyers for both you and the property owner will look at things like how many crimes have been committed in the area recently, whether the property owner knew about them (or, sometimes, should have known about them), whether anyone had a grudge against the property owner, and the friendliness of the neighbors, among other things. The lawyers will put all of this information together to present their case to the judge on whether the property owner could reasonably be expected to have known there was a risk for crime on their property when you were there or not.

Judges and Florida Premises Law

All of the gathering of evidence that goes into a property liability case with personal injury involved is incredibly subjective. Whether the property owner is found liable is going to depend on how the judge interprets the evidence that is presented in court. The pure subjectivity of this information means many of these cases go to appeals courts, because attorneys for the side that doesn't win believe a different judge may interpret the evidence in their client's favor. This is a smart move, because these cases are quite often overturned on appeal due to the viewpoint of a different judge.


If it can be proven that the property owner should have known there was a high likelihood of a crime being committed on their property, you can get financial compensation for any injuries you sustained in the commission of the crime. The only exception is if you are a trespasser. In this instance, you are considered to be taking your chances on your own, and the property owner's only responsibility toward you is to not inflict harm on you on purpose, as long as you are not threatening them in any way. If you believe you can prove foreknowledge on the property owner's part, contact a personal injury attorney from a firm like Stapleton Law Offices who is highly experienced in this area of law. Even if you're not sure if foreknowledge can be proven, still consult a lawyer, as your lawyer may be able to gather enough evidence to win the case for you and get you the compensation you deserve.