The “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida is contained in Florida Statute Section 776, and it allows people to use force, including deadly force, to defend themselves from perpetrators threatening them or their property. The law is intended to allow homeowners and Florida residents to defend themselves, their families, and their homes without having to worry about criminal persecution.
The law is also often used in personal injury cases in Homestead and other Florida communities. In the event of an assault and battery charge in Homestead or another community, some defendants will claim that they used physical force in self-defense.
Recently, a case before the Florida appellate court involved just this type of situation. A Miami roofer beat his co-worker with a baseball bat but alleged that he was acting in self-defense. The case resulted in criminal and civil charges. In the criminal trial, a judge deemed that the roofer’s actions were justifiable under the “Stand Your Ground” law.
While the criminal case was ongoing, however, the roofer and the roofing company both men worked for were charged in civil court by the victim. The defendants in that case evoked the “Stand Your Ground” law and stated that since a judge had already found the actions of the roofer defensible, the “Stand Your Ground” law could serve as an absolute defense. A judge in the civil trial denied that the “Stand Your Ground” law applied in civil court, but the defendants appealed. A Third District Court of Appeal appellate court decided that the use of the “Stand Your Ground” law could not be dismissed in civil court because Florida has not yet determined how civil liability works with that law. The judge also deemed that the parties were different in both cases, since the plaintiff in the civil case was the injured co-worker while the plaintiff in the criminal trial was the State of Florida. The judge deemed that this difference meant that the criminal trial’s conclusions could not simply be used in the civil proceedings.
What does the decision mean for those who have suffered an injury due to an battery in Homestead or another community? Long term, it is unclear. The case will likely be in courts for some time and could impact how the “Stand Your Ground” law is interpreted in future cases. Personal injury attorneys in the state are in support of the most recent court decisions, with some arguing that the “Stand Your Ground” law should not be applied in civil court automatically, even if a defendant has been found not guilty in a criminal court.
Currently, if someone has been injured in an assault and the defendant alleges that they were acting in self-defense, the injured party can still seek damages in civil court. In these cases, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine what legal options are available.
Flaxman Law Group offers free case assessments to any injured person who would like to know whether they have a claim. If you have been injured, do not hesitate to contact our full service law firm at 1-866-FLAXMAN (1-866-352-9626) to arrange a free consultation.