Premises Liability: What’s a Foreseeable Crime?
One would think that if a crime were foreseeable, precautions would be taken to prevent the crime from happening. For example, leaving valuables in plain sight in your car when the car is parked in a high crime area creates a foreseeable crime. If a thief comes along, breaks into the car and steals the valuables, it is not a surprise. The area has a reputation for being a high crime area, you left your valuables in sight and criminals did what they do.
Invitees, Licensees and Trespassers
How does foreseeable crime work with premises liability? First there are a few things to know. When you are a customer or a visitor, you are what’s known as an invitee; furthermore, you are a public invitee – one who is on the premises to take part in whatever the business is offering, e.g. customer. A business invitee is a person who is on the land or in the building for a purpose that is directly or indirectly associated with business dealings with the owner of the property, such as a delivery person. The licensee by invitation is a social guest of the property owner. There is another type of person that can be involved and this is a person who is an uninvited licensee or a trespasser.
The owner of the property has an obligation to provide a reasonable amount of safety for the invitee and the invited licensee. The uninvited licensee by law is not due the same level of duty by the property owner.
A property owner must provide adequate security to keep people safe when they are on the property. Surveillance equipment, alarms, emergency guidelines and other forms of protection must be sufficient for the circumstances. If these are not in place and an invitee or invited licensee is harmed by a third party, the property owner can be held liable for the injuries.
An example of a foreseeable crime would be a robbery in a moderately safe area. If a young woman was working the night shift alone at a gas station, she should have access to the means to protect herself should there be a robbery. In this situation, a robbery could happen, so the property owner should have plans in place on how to prevent it, or stop it.
Premises Liability: It’s Complicated
Florida law is complicated with it comes to premises liability and foreseeable crime. For this reason, finding an attorney who has experience working these types of cases is important. Tison Law Group handles various types of legal cases, including those of personal injury. If you need legal representation, call on the professionals at Tison. We serve our clients with the integrity and honesty you would expect from lawyers committed to their clients’ best interests. Call to schedule a consultation.