Cases of negligent security occur when a Florida business owner doesn’t take the proper precautions to protect their guests, customers, and clients. It’s required that business owners take basic security measures to prevent possible theft, assaults, property damage, and robberies.
The term “negligent security” applies to many locations serving the public, including schools, apartment complexes, rental homes, retail stores, motels, hotels, and more. If you are injured while on one of these properties, it may be possible to hire a personal injury lawyer and hold the owner liable for your injuries and damages.
Filing personal injury claims is complex and takes a lot of time and effort in many situations. To secure the biggest personal injury claim payouts possible, it’s important to understand what negligent security is, your rights, and your responsibilities.
Negligent Security vs. Premises Liability
Negligent security claims are like premises liability cases in Florida. In both situations, the injured party can file a lawsuit against the property or landowner of the property where they were injured.
However, with premises liability cases, you file a suit over the direct negligence caused by the owner. Negligent security claims occur when negligence in providing and maintaining proper security causes an injury (usually by a third party and typically a criminal act).
While it’s not possible for property owners to prevent all crimes, they have an obligation and responsibility to prevent crimes that are “reasonably foreseeable” on their property. In Florida, foreseeability is a subjective concept. It differs from one case to another but usually plays a role in this legal matter.
Business and property owners must ensure the reasonable safety of their customers and visitors. It may be considered negligence if they allow a crime to occur on their premises because of a lack of security. If this is the case, learning about the personal injury claims process and how to recover compensation for your injuries and damages is important.
How to Prove a Negligent Security Claim
Do you believe you have a viable negligent security claim? If so, it’s important to speak to an accident attorney about the situation. They can help when filing a personal injury claim.
It’s important to remember that a factor that could keep you from filing this claim is if the criminal that attacked you is found and criminal charges are pressed against them. Some believe that trying the same individual in civil and criminal court triggers their Fifth Amendment right that forbids double jeopardy.
However, the U.S.’s civil and criminal court systems are separate entities, meaning the Fifth Amendment isn’t triggered. You can file your lawsuit, but it may be put on hold until the criminal trial against the individual is finalized.
To prove your civil suit in negligent security cases, it’s necessary to prove four criteria. These include:
- You were on the premises lawfully
- The location did not have proper security measures
- The property owner should have reasonably foreseen criminal activity like what happened to you
- You experienced tangible harm because of the incident
Some facts above are more challenging to prove than others; however, with the right injury lawyer, you can establish reasonable foreseeability, which means you have a chance to win in court.
Cases of negligent security can be filed against landlords, homeowners, convenience store owners, property managers, and commercial business owners. Common examples of negligent security include:
- Attending a concert and being held at knifepoint
- Walking in a poorly lit parking lot and being mugged
- Staying in a double-booked hotel room and someone with access to your belongings steals them
- Walking along a dark stairwell and being robbed
In the state of Florida, a “crime hotspot” is convenience stores.
Understanding the Law
In Florida, the law requires proper and adequate security measures to protect those on the property. Examples include:
- Properly lit parking lots
- Silent alarms
- Notices that cash registers contain under $50
With these measures in place, it shows that the owner of the property has taken steps to keep people on the property safe.
The more security a property or business owner invests in; the less likely a crime will occur. This means it’s important for these owners to invest in as many security measures as possible, such as alarm systems, dogs, door locks, fencing, foot patrols, lighting, and more.
At no point will any property be considered 100% safe; however, business and property owners must anticipate the potential dangers and warn employees, visitors, and patrons of them.
Responsibilities of Florida Property Owners
Based on the premises liability laws in Florida, property owners are legally obligated to anyone on their establishment. This means they execute reasonable care in the following ways:
- Maintain a safe environment for people visiting the property
- Warn people on the property of any concealed hazards or dangers they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of
- Take steps to correct issues or hazards
- Discover dangers that could be present on the property or premises
An owner is considered negligent if they fail to comply with these responsibilities.
Damages You May Recover in Negligent Security Cases
The damages you can recover from your negligent security claim depend on the case and the facts around it. Hiring a personal injury attorney is recommended to help with this process. Some common damages awarded in these cases include:
- Medical costs: This includes emergency transport, hospital care, surgical costs, prescription medications, ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and others.
- Lost wages: This includes what you lose immediately due to the accident and being unable to work and what you will likely lose in the future.
- Personal property damage: If your personal property is damaged or ruined in the crime, you can recover its monetary value.
- Pain and suffering: You may request compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, and other mental injuries.
Contact a Florida Injury Lawyer Today for Help with Your Negligent Security Claim
Were you injured on someone’s property because of negligent security? If so, you have rights. The best way to protect your rights is by contacting our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet to discuss your case. We will review the evidence and help you create a plan to move forward and recover compensation.