Ft. Lauderdale Woman Bites Home Invader

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A local news station reports that a South Florida woman had to defend herself when a strange man forced himself into her apartment. According to the victim, she was awakened early one Monday to the sound of a fire alarm going off. When the 61-year-old woman opened the door to exit her place, she was face-to-face with a stranger who pushed his way inside her apartment.

The victim reports the man kept telling her everything would be ok and repeatedly called her “Mama.” That is when she made a quick decision to fight and bit him. She then ran out of her apartment and called the police from a neighbor’s home. The man, who was later arrested on three felony charges, had locked himself inside the victim’s home. Aside from being more careful when opening her door, the victim also told news reporters she will have her taser in hand when greeting unannounced visitors.

Front door with glass pane smashed in

Can a Victim be Held Responsible for an Attacker’s Injuries?

It is quite rare for a trespasser, like the home invader in the Ft. Lauderdale woman’s situation, to successfully sue a property owner for harm suffered, but it is not impossible. According to Florida premises liability rules, homeowners and managers can be held liable for another’s injuries that occurred on the property, depending on whether the person injured is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.

  • Invitee: An invitee is someone whom the owner freely invites to the property for a particular purpose. A homeowner has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the property is safe for the invitee.
  • Licensee: A licensee is someone who is on the homeowner’s property with his or her consent, although the licensee enters for his or her own purposes. A homeowner has a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to protect licensees on their property from known dangers.
  • Trespasser: A trespasser – which includes a burglar or criminal – is someone who does not have permission from the homeowner nor a lawful right to be on the property. Generally, a homeowner has no duty to protect a trespasser from dangers.

Should someone trespass on your property and they are harmed, a homeowner is typically not held liable under Florida law unless:

  • The owner has acted violently against the trespasser which, in turn, caused the injury; or
  • The owner expects trespassers to enter the property and has been grossly negligent in keeping the place safe or warning of dangers.

Notably, chasing a trespasser off of your property – or using a reasonable degree of force against the trespasser – is not grounds for liability. That being said, using deadly force to make someone leave is not allowable unless the threat of bodily harm or death to you is imminent.

It is quite rare for a trespasser... to successfully sue a property owner for harm suffered, but it is not impossible.

Your Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in Florida due to the negligence of another, know that you have rights under the law. With more than 40 years of experience representing the injured in Ft. Lauderdale and across the state of Florida, the personal injury attorneys at Bogins, Munns & Munns will fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for your free personal injury consultation.

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NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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