Can a Trespasser File a Premises Liability Claim in Florida?

A "no trespassing" sign attached to a rusty metal bar warns potential trespassers with the threat of premises liability, positioned against green foliage in the background.

Most people would assume that when a trespasser is injured, he or she has no right to sue the property owner. However, in some cases, this is untrue. In Florida, trespassers may have more rights than you would think, and if you were wrongfully injured as a trespasser in Florida, you may be wondering whether you have a valid premises liability claim. Please continue reading and speak with our seasoned Jacksonville personal injury attorneys to learn more about these claims and how our firm can help you. Here are some of the questions you may have:

When is a property owner not liable for a trespasser’s injuries?

Florida Statute 768.075 states that property owners in Florida are not liable for injuries sustained on their property if the trespasser was either intoxicated or was trespassing with the intent to commit a felony on the property. Additionally, property owners are not responsible for most other cases where a trespasser is injured on a property without the property owner having knowledge of the trespasser’s presence.

When does a trespasser have a valid premises liability claim?

Many may be surprised that there are, in fact, several circumstances where a may have a valid premises liability claim against a property owner. For example, if the property owner is determined to have committed either intentional misconduct or “gross negligence” towards the trespasser, that property owner may be liable for the trespasser’s injuries. Some examples of cases where a trespasser may have a valid premises liability claim in Florida include the following:

  1. The trespasser had reason to believe that he or she was invited onto the premises. If you can prove that you could have reasonably assumed that you were not trespassing at the time you were injured, you may have a valid claim.
  2. You were an “undiscovered trespasser.” This means that the property owner was unaware of your trespassing, though when the property owner caught you in the act, he or she acted unlawfully towards you, wrongfully injuring you as a result.
  3. You were a “discovered trespasser.” This means that the property owner knew you were trespassing and knew of unsafe property conditions, though he or she failed to remove those safety hazards or warn you of the dangers. For example, in certain cases, a property owner with a vicious dog may be required to have warnings regarding the danger the dog poses, and if the property owner did not have such signs up, saw you trespassing, and failed to warn you, resulting in you being attacked by the dog, the property owner may be held responsible for your injuries.

Contact our experienced Florida firm

Ansbacher Law is composed of knowledgeable attorneys who are ready to assist clients with various legal matters throughout North Florida. We understand the urgency of your personal injury claim and additional legal matters, which is why we provide each of our clients with compassionate and efficient legal assistance, every step of the way. Please contact our office for an initial consultation today.