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Any act of violence or theft against you is a violation of your basic rights. Such an action can have a lasting impact on your physical and emotional well-being. Property owners in Florida have a legal obligation to keep people on their land safe. This includes commercial business owners, property managers, and landlords as well as all other types of property owners.
When negligent security leads to an incident that results in an injury to you or a loved one, they can be held liable if someone is injured or personal property has been stolen or damaged. The rationale is to prevent foreseeable harm to patrons, customers, or residents on the property.
NEGLIGENT SECURITY CASES
Under Florida premises liability law, every property owner is expected to take reasonable measures to protect members of the public from harm. For hotels, commercial buildings, and certain other properties, this principle may require the proper installation and placement of working security cameras.
To successfully litigate a negligent security case, your attorney will have to prove that the owner should have been aware of the danger but failed to act. This may involve examining crime statistics, photos, witness statements, event history, and other records to determine whether the incident was foreseeable. An experienced law firm may help you gather evidence and file a claim.
Negligent security cases often arise when someone is mugged, assaulted, sexually assaulted, or otherwise harmed on a property because of insufficient security. In these instances, the victim can sustain serious physical and emotional injuries. Even if the perpetrator of the crime escapes and cannot be held liable, the victim can bring a lawsuit against the property owner if the property owner did not provide basic safety measures that could have prevented the harm. For example, the owner of a nightclub has an obligation to hire sufficient security staff in case a fight breaks out. If the owner fails to do so and someone is injured on the premises, the victim can bring a claim if he or she can show that additional security would have been able to stop the fight and prevent or mitigate the harm.
Negligent security cases operate under the doctrine of negligence. A negligence claim alleges that the at-fault party failed to use reasonable care which resulted in the plaintiff’s damage or injuries. In order to win on a negligent security case in Florida, the plaintiff would have to prove the following elements:
- The property owner had a legal duty to provide basic security measures for the premises. This includes sufficient lighting, working locks, and adequate security staff for the premises. What constitutes “basic security measures” will vary depending on the type of premises it is. For example, a commercial business requires different security measures to an apartment building.
- The property owner’s breach in providing basic security caused the plaintiff’s harm. For example, if the property owner failed to install proper locks on your apartment unit and someone breaks in and robs you, you may have a case because the robbery would have presumably not been possible with functioning locks.
- The plaintiff suffered harm or damage as a result of the incident. Any injuries to your body or your property would qualify as harm that you may be able to recover for. For example, if you suffered from a broken bone and your personal belongings were stolen, you may have a valid negligent security claim.
Negligent security cases can be quite complex. If you think you may have a valid inadequate security claim, it is best to consult an experienced South Florida negligent security lawyer who can help assess the facts of your case.
CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLIGENT SECURITY
When property owners fail to take proper measures to ensure the safety of individuals present, it may lead to visitors or residents being robbed, raped, assaulted, or otherwise harmed. While the assailants are the ones who actually caused the injuries, the property owners may be held liable for failing to prevent or warn against it.
Negligent security may involve:
- Inadequate lighting
- Broken door locks
- Lack of security cameras or security guards
- No secure entry for apartment complexes
- Insufficient surveillance
- Lack of warning or notification about recent criminal activity
LACK OF SECURITY CAMERAS
The need for security cameras may be particularly important in dangerous or high crime areas that are not directly supervised but easy for members of the public to access. Of course, surveillance is only one of several security measures that property owners can and should take in these situations.
Visible security cameras have proven benefits in protecting people from being attacked in public places. Studies have suggested that the installation of cameras in public places deters people from committing serious crimes such as:
- Sexual assault
If you have been attacked on someone else’s property where security cameras were not installed or positioned properly, you may be entitled to compensation.
NEGLIGENT SECURITY LAW: WHY WERE YOU THERE?
Premises liability law refers to the set of laws which make the person who is in possession of the property responsible for certain injuries suffered by persons who are present on the premises.
Under common law, the duty of care owed by the owner varies depending on whether the person injured on the premises was an invitee, guest or trespasser with generally a higher duty of care for invitees and licensees than trespassers. However, some jurisdictions have adopted the rule that an owner or occupier of land is held to a duty of reasonable care under all circumstances.
But in civil liability cases, the visitor’s status may be a relevant factor in determining whether the injury was foreseeable and the owner was negligent. If you have been invited to the property for business purposes such as being a customer at a store or a guest at an amusement park, then that will likely carry more weight or sympathy than if you’re harmed while trespassing.
PREMISES LIABILITY LAW: WHAT ABOUT TRESSPASSERS?
Furthermore, liability may be eradicated if a trespasser is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Florida Statute §768.075 provides immunity from civil liability neglect for injury or death to trespassers on real property when the trespasser is legally intoxicated except for in some cases of “gross negligence,” which is far below the standard of care, or “intentional misconduct.”
Often times injuries sustained through negligent security are very serious violent crimes that may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disability, disfigurement, or death. If you have suffered a bodily injury or have lost a loved one due to a property or landowner’s negligence, then you may be able to recover financial compensation for any losses sustained. Some of these losses may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost time from work, and funeral expenses.
NEGLIGENT SECURITY CLAIMS
Winig Law, with our experienced legal team has handled cases involving premises liability, slip-and-fall injuries, and negligent security for years, including incidents similar to yours. We are prepared to pursue the recovery that our clients deserve from the owners of office complexes, shopping malls, parking garages, schools, apartment complexes, or any facility where they have been injured due to negligent, or nonexistent, security.
DO YOU HAVE A NEGLIGENT SECURITY CLAIM? CALL TO FIND OUT!
These cases are often complex. Having an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer on your side is important to achieve a successful result. We know how to investigate and handle these cases in order to give our clients the strongest chance at a favorable outcome and receiving the maximum compensation to which they are entitled.
If you or someone you love has been harmed and you believe that negligent security may have led to the incident, contact Winig Law and feel confident about your representation.
COULD A PROPERTY OWNER HAVE PREVENTED YOUR INJURIES?
When crime victims suffer serious physical and emotional injuries, they are rarely able to sue their attackers and obtain any meaningful compensation. In some cases, a third-party — usually a property owner — can be held partially responsible for crime-related injuries.
If you have been seriously hurt as a result of an assault, rape, robbery, or another type of crime, you may have a claim against the owner of the property where the crime occurred. You should discuss your options with an injury lawyer in West Palm Beach as soon as possible.
Some of the major reasons why property owners are held accountable for crimes include:
- Broken locks: When residential landlords and hotel owners fail to replace broken front door and room locks within a reasonable period of time, they are putting their tenants and guests at a significantly higher risk of becoming crime victims.
- Inadequate lighting: Parking lots and other open areas where people are likely to walk at night need to be lit well enough to deter criminal behavior. When they are not, it may be possible for crime victims to hold the property owners responsible.
- Negligent security: When property owners know that crimes are repeatedly being committed on their properties, they are responsible for taking appropriate security measures in order to prevent those crimes from continuing.
- Poor handling of conflicts: When fights start at nightclubs, bars, and similar establishments, the owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent those fights from getting out of hand. If people are removed, owners are responsible for ensuring that this is conducted safely for all involved.
At Winig Law, we have the resources, expertise, and trial experience representing seriously injured victims of crime in Florida. Common theories of legal responsibility are based on legal concepts known as negligent security or inadequate security measures. Legal claims are generally filed against property owner, managers and other negligent businesses.
Personal Injury Attorney Steven L. Winig, Esq. is a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and is licensed to practice before all
Florida State Courts, as well as the United States District Courts for Southern and Middle Florida.
Winig Law routinely handles cases throughout Palm Beach County including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington,
Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach and surrounding areas.
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'The Winig Law Firm, P.A.
1615 Forum Place, Suite 3A
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
T: (561) 337-2997 | F: (561) 683-1559