Property owners and persons or entities occupying premises open to the public or to customers have a responsibility to provide adequate security on their premises. The degree of security that must be provided is dependent upon the circumstances. Security measures that might be sufficient in a quiet community with a low crime rate may be woefully inadequate in an area with a high crime rate or one frequented by tourists or transient visitors. Insufficient security that results in injury or harm caused by a criminal actor will give rise to a claim for negligent security.
How does one know if they have a negligent security case?
Someone could have a negligent security case if they were hurt as a result of the criminal actions of a third party when a property owner had not maintained reasonably safe conditions on their premises. While the property owner may not have been able to physically stop criminal behavior by a third party, certain factors may reveal that they should have anticipated the risk.
What does one need to prove in a negligent security case in Florida?
A plaintiff must prove foreseeability to successfully bring a negligence claim in court. The plaintiff must show proof that similar cases existed or there was a heightened chance of criminal activity leading up to the crime in question. A property owner may face liability in a case if a similar criminal action had been committed in the same location within a short time.
The property owner must provide adequate security measures because of the foreseeable threat. Adequate security is a condition that depends on each unique location and set of circumstances. If it can be proven that the leaseholder, owner, or business failed to enact reasonable measures that could have protected the plaintiff, the owner may be held liable for the damages caused to the victim by the assailant.
In negligent security cases in Florida, property owners can not shift full blame on the criminal. In some cases, the property owner could be held liable for all injuries sustained due to the foreseeable criminal act.
Florida law has a time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a negligent security lawsuit. The deadline to file a negligent security lawsuit in Florida is four years from the date of the injury. If someone is pursuing a negligent security case on behalf of a deceased family member, they have two years from the date of the death to bring a wrongful death claim.
What can one collect through a negligent security case?
A negligent security claim will go beyond the loss of property and may be used to collect money to cover pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages. In these types of cases, someone may also seek to collect damages to cover the treatment of personal injuries sustained during the criminal assault or robbery. This could include hospital bills, time away from work, follow-up medical therapy, and prescription medication.
A lawyer will ask that you retain medical records and receipts after seeking treatment for injuries sustained after a crime. These receipts will be documented later to calculate damages if you choose to pursue a lawsuit later.
What is an example of a negligent security claim?
Each negligent security case is unique and we recommend seeking out an experienced lawyer to help determine the best way to approach each claim. For example, a negligent security case may arise to help someone collect damages for serious injuries after they were the victim of an assault and theft in a poorly lit, unsecured hotel parking lot in an area where muggings happened frequently. In this example, the injured may hold the property owner responsible for the damages that occurred as a result of the crimes committed by the assailant if foreseeable danger were proven.
Our team has experience trying various types of negligent security cases that help victims collect damages from those who maintain unsafe properties across South Florida. We treat our clients like family and work one-on-one to find the justice, recovery, and compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one were injured in a public location or business after a crime that may have been avoided if the owner had adequate security measures in place, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Call us today about your case (305) 662-6178.