What does foreseeable risk mean in premises liability claims?

Under Florida law landowners have a duty to ensure that reasonable precautions are taken to prevent injury to individuals coming onto their property. At first glance, this may seem like an obvious rule that most of us observe without paying it much attention. For example, if you were hosting a party at your home, you would probably mop up any puddles of water that have accumulated along the pathway to your door. Or you may choose to place your large dog into a fenced kennel.

Likewise, property owners should foresee potential hazards to their clients, tenants or customers and take adequate pre-cautionary steps to ensure that none of them get hurt. This duty to exercise reasonable care and preventing harm can also extend to those same individuals who are harmed by third parties. An example of this might include a nightclub patron who is stabbed or shot by a third party while in a nightclub. A judge or jury may consider whether the installation of a metal detector or the presence of security guards would have been a reasonable precaution undertaken by the bar owner. This could be especially true in cases where there has been an extensive prior history of similar attacks.

Another example of inadequate security often arises at locations owned by a property owner who fails to provide adequate lighting. For example, a grocery store customer might make a claim that a poorly lighted parking lot may have contributed to his or her nighttime robbery while walking from the store to his or her car.

If you are a Florida resident who has been harmed as a result of inadequate security, you do not have to suffer quietly. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries from a negligent property owner. If successful in your claim, you can be awarded money damages for your medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: The Florida Bar Journal, “Premises Liability: A Notable Rift in the Law of Foreseeable Crimes” Wilton H. Strickland, Dec. 09, 2014