Every structure has a safe maximum number of people it can accommodate at a time. When the maximum is exceeded at any time, the owner is considered to have overcrowded the structure.
Overcrowding premises is mainly discouraged because it can lead to accidents or compound injuries during accidents. This is especially true if the entire floor is held above the ground by wood or metal support.
As the owner or manager of the premises, you may be held liable for any injuries or death that occur following premise accidents that can be attributed to overcrowding. Florida law prohibits property owners from allowing in more than the structure is built to withstand. During social gatherings or any other events that may attract crowds, it is important to be in the event to ensure the number of guests doesn’t exceed the legal maximum.
In case an accident happens and some of your guests decide to file premises liability claims, you will need a Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP lawyer by your side to identify the events that happened during, before, and after the incident to determine if you are truly liable for the injuries.
Lawyers often work with engineering experts and other professionals to determine if the incident occurred purely due to overcrowding. Sometimes other factors may contribute to the accident, and this may save you from the premises liability claim. For instance, if the building collapsed due to overcrowding in a small area of the building, there is a chance you are not responsible and the case will be dismissed.
In some cases, the findings may increase the owner’s liability for premises liability cases.
What will happen if I allow overcrowding in my premises?
If the owner or the tenant of a property allows into his premises more people than is allowed either because of ignorance or because they were not present during the event, they may face a premises liability lawsuit if an accident happens and one or more of the guests at the event is injured or killed. Chances of losing the case are usually high given there are many witnesses to attest to the incident.
Overcrowding in small spaces
Overcrowding in small spaces, as stated above, may compromise the structural integrity of the building in that specific area. If the area in question is a balcony or any other structure whose entire floor is lifted above the ground and supported, people in and close to the structure may suffer serious injuries or even death if the location collapses or falls apart.
If an expert witness is able to determine that the accident happened because there were more than a few individuals in a small section of the building, no one will be held liable for the damages if other factors are kept constant.
If you are the victim
Victims of overcrowded premises accidents are advised to hire a lawyer as early as possible to investigate and record facts and evidence to use against the at-fault party.