Florida Tort Reform Targets Negligent Security Suits Against Multifamily Residential Property
The State of Florida recently passed several provisions related to personal injury lawsuits or torts. Torts are injury lawsuits filed against another individual or company on the basis of negligence. One type of personal injury lawsuit is a negligent security lawsuit. Negligent security lawsuits are filed under a theory of premises liability. In a premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that negligence occurred. Negligence is established through the lens of foreseeability. If the injury to an individual was foreseeable, then the plaintiff can prove negligence.
Recent changes to Florida’s tort system benefit business owners who face various types of lawsuits. One type of business owner who will benefit from the new provisions are apartment complex owners who operate multifamily residential properties. The new rules make it more difficult to sue a business owner when someone is injured on the premises.
Unpacking Florida’s new rules for negligent security involving multifamily properties
The new rules create a presumption against liability of an owner or operator of a multifamily residential dwelling when the owner implements several security measures. In other words, an operator of a multi-family residential dwelling cannot be sued so long as they are in compliance with specific security measures.
A multifamily residential dwelling is defined as a residential building (or group of residential buildings) such as apartments, condominiums, or townhouses that consist of at least five dwelling units.
To gain a presumption against liability, the residential buildings must be in compliance with a number of regulations. These include:
- A security camera that faces every entrance and exit and keeps at least 30 days worth of recordings
- A well-lit parking lot
- Lighting in walkways, laundry areas, common areas, and porches
- At least a 1-inch deadbolt for each dwelling’s door
- A locking device on each window and sliding door
- Locked gates with key-fob access along fences surrounding pools
- A peephole for every apartment’s door
- Undergoing an environmental design assessment conducted by law enforcement
- Providing proper crime deterrence and safety training to current employees
The provisions would only apply to crimes and assaults that were committed by other residents or members of the public. They would not apply to employees of the apartment complex. In addition, a jury hearing a negligent security lawsuit would be forced to consider the fault of all individuals, including the perpetrator, who injured the resident. Prior, a jury could not portion out fault to a third-party criminal who caused injury. They could only consider the fault of the apartment complex owner. The financial liability of the property owner is reduced.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Negligent Security Attorney Today
If you have been injured on the premises of your apartment complex or at a night club or bar, you may be able to file a negligent security lawsuit against the owner. Call the Tampa personal injury lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your injuries immediately.