Am I Liable for a Trespasser’s Injuries in West Palm Beach, Florida?
In West Palm Beach, Florida, you have a one in 21 chance of becoming the victim of a crime on your property. For every 1,000 West Palm Beach residents, 46.67 are at risk for becoming the victims of burglary, theft, or motor vehicle theft, while the national median is just 26 individuals per 1,000. With the high burglary and theft rates on private property in West Palm Beach, it is important for homeowners to understand what they are and are not liable for should a trespasser be injured on their property.
At The Pendas Law Firm, we aim to protect homeowners from a personal injury lawsuit brought against them by a trespasser, by helping them understand what they need to do in order to avoid a personal injury lawsuit altogether.
Florida Law Regarding Trespassing and Premises Liability
Under Florida Statute 768.075, a Florida homeowner or property owner cannot be held liable for any injuries or deaths sustained on their property by a trespasser IF the trespasser was under the influence of alcohol or some other mind-altering substance. However, a homeowner or property owner can be held liable for injuries to trespassers if the homeowner or property owner committed gross negligence or intentional misconduct towards the trespasser.
Furthermore, a property owner may be held liable for injuries to a trespasser in the following instances, and regardless of whether or not the trespasser was intoxicated:
- The trespasser had reason to believe that they were invited onto the premises, and that they were otherwise welcome to the property where the injury occurred;
- The trespasser was a “discovered trespasser,” meaning that the property owners knew of the trespassers existence and presence on the property at least 24 hours before the injury occurred, and did not remove any hazards or provide adequate warning to the trespasser of any dangers; or
- The trespasser was an “undiscovered trespasser,” meaning that the property owners did not know of their presence on the premises prior to injury, but acted in an unlawful way towards the trespasser upon their discovery.
However, property owners are in no way responsible for the injuries or deaths of any individuals on their property who are there to commit a felony, or who were in the act of committing a felony when they sustained their injuries.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
While most trespassers in West Palm Beach have very little rights, there are a few exceptions to the law. The attractive nuisance doctrine, for instance, holds homeowners liable for injuries or deaths that occur to children on their property. Whether or not a child was invited onto the property, if there is an attractive nuisance – such as a swimming pool, hot tub, or swing set – and a child should get injured trying to get to the attractive nuisance, the homeowner will be held liable for all injuries and/or deaths. However, this law typically only applies to children.
Consult a West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
At The Pendas Law Firm, we help clients determine premises liability in the event of an injury. Oftentimes, it is unclear as to who should be at fault, especially when trespassing is involved. Our West Palm Beach premises liability lawyers thoroughly understand Florida premises liability law, and can help you combat a claim brought against you by a trespasser. If an uninvited individual was injured on your property, and if they sue you for damages, contact our West Palm Beach personal injury law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS or online to schedule a private consultation today. We also serve clients in the Miami, Tampa, Fort Myer, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale & Jacksonville areas.