Personal Injury Suits Surrounding Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is a self-defense law that eliminates the “duty to retreat” before acting in defense. These laws are meant to give Floridians greater legal rights for their own defense of their person and property. While the law grants people the right to defend themselves in dangerous situations, it does not make clear any situation where the law is applicable. This means that cases following an act of self-defense can by confusing and complicated. If you or a loved one have been injured, or if you’ve lost a family member as a result of an incident that falls under this provision, you should contact a personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale to discuss the details of your injuries, the circumstances that led to the injuries, and the laws surrounding your rights. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if the case is found to not be covered under these self-defense laws.

What Is a “Stand Your Ground” Law?

Under sections 776.012 and 776.013 in the Florida Statutes, the legal definitions of self-defense have been altered in the following ways:

  • There is no “duty to retreat” imposed
  • There is presumed legal justification for self-defense measures in a dwelling, home, or vehicle
  • If the situation is covered by the legislation, individuals are granted immunity from prosecution

Duty To Retreat

In terms of self-defense, a duty to retreat states that before an individual is able to use force in a dangerous situation, they should exhaust all options to retreat from the situation. Once they have made all reasonable attempts to leave the situation, they are justified to use force in order to prevent harm or even the death of themselves or another person, or are in their own home.

Deadly Force

A person is allowed to use deadly force for self-defense if they believe that this is the necessary action to keep themselves or others from bodily harm or death.

Prosecutorial Immunity

Stand Your Ground laws in Florida require that the defendant in the case establish a baseline of self-defense, at which point it is then up to the prosecution to argue that immunity does not apply. If immunity is granted, then there is no ability to bring a lawsuit to the defendant.

Limitations to Stand Your Ground

There are a variety of limitations under the statutes, including the following:

  • The defendant initially provoked the violence
  • The persons were not lawfully allowed on the property the incident took place on
  • The situation is not found to fall under any presumptions of reasonableness outlined in subsection 3

Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit If I’ve Been Injured In a Stand Your Ground Incident?

Given the specificity of each situation that leads to a Stand Your Ground defense, there is no simple answer to this question. If you have been injured in a situation where another individual claims self-defense, or a loved one has been injured or killed, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. If it is found that the defendant is immune to civil cases following their self-defense, it is highly likely that a case will not be allowed to proceed. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine the possibilities of your case, and to understand what will happen next under this law.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.