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What Obligations Do Property Owners Have in Physical and Sexual Assault Cases?

The obligations of property owners in physical and sexual assault cases consist of their legal duty to exercise reasonable care and to ensure persons are protected from the risk of harm while on the owners’ property. Failure to ensure certain standards of safety that lead to such an incident will trigger severe financial penalties for the property owners.

From corporal injuries to emotional scars, sexual or physical assault is a serious crime. The victim of the violent assault is entitled to pursue legal steps and seek compensation from any party whose negligence contributed to the assault. This means that the owner on whose property the assault occurred can be held liable for resulting damages.

In Florida, property owners and possessors owe different degrees of responsibility, duties, or obligation to people who come onto their property, depending on how such people are categorized. The law recognizes three main categories of individuals who might be on someone else's property:

  • Invitees: a person who is invited onto the property for business reasons (customers of a retail store, job applicants, etc.);
  • Licensees: someone allowed on premises for social purposes, or for solely their purposes.
  • Trespassers: someone who is not authorized to be on the property at issue.

A property owner needs to present the highest degree of care with regards to keeping the people on their property safe from danger and personal injury. A property owner:

  • Has a duty to reasonably inspect for, discover, and correct unknown hazards in those areas of the premises to which an invitee/ licensee might have access
  • Has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that the environment is safe for patrons by ensuring adequate security - this differs from case to case, because some places present a greater threat for crime than others.

Incidents Occurring on Private Property

The types of violent crimes that may occur on private property can include, without being limited to:

  • Assault and battery
  • Sexual assault/ rape
  • Robbery and armed robbery
  • Homicide.

Property owners cannot willfully injure trespassers. If the owner is aware of the fact that there are frequent trespassers on the property, they will be liable for injuries caused by an unsafe condition on the property if:

  • The condition is one the owner created or maintained;
  • The condition was likely to cause death or serious bodily harm;
  • The condition was such that the owner had reason to believe trespassers would not discover it;
  • The owner failed to exercise reasonable care to warn trespassers of the condition and the risk presented.

At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, the in-house team of professionals has extensive experience in assisting individuals who suffered serious personal injuries as a result of physical or sexual assaults.

For questions and free legal advice to help individuals please call us

305.416.9805
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.