Negligent security laws are designed to hold property owners liable for crimes that occur on their premises due to inadequate security measures. These laws require property owners to take reasonable steps to protect guests from foreseeable dangers. For example, if a property owner knows that there is a high crime rate in the area, they may be required to install security cameras or hire security guards. If a crime does occur on the property, the victim may be able to sue the property owner for negligent security. These lawsuits can be complex, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney if you believe you have a case. Contact GOLDLAW today to schedule a free consultation.
Most Common Causes of Negligent Security Crimes
Just about any property owner can be held liable for failing to provide adequate security measures. Here are some of the most common examples of negligent security issues that lead to civil lawsuits:
Insufficient lighting: This is one of the most common security concerns and is often seen in parking lots and garages. Without enough lighting, it can be difficult to see potential threats, leading to serious crimes such as assault and rape.
Lack of security cameras: One of the most important security measures for any business is the use of security cameras. These devices can deter crime, provide evidence in the event of a break-in or assault, and help to improve safety for both employees and customers.
Lack of trained security personnel on site: If you have a large property or one located in a high-crime area, it is important to have trained security personnel on-site. Without trained security personnel, businesses are unable to deter crime or respond quickly in the event of an incident. This can result in property damage, injuries, and even loss of life.
Failing to secure entry points properly: All entry points should be secured with locks, gates, or other physical barriers. Furthermore, identification should be required for anyone who wants to enter the property. This is particularly important for residential buildings and businesses, such as apartment complexes.
Most Negligent Security Cases Take Place in These Four Locations
There are a number of hot spots for security negligence cases. Parking lots, nightclubs, apartment complexes, and ATMs are all common places where these cases occur. In each of these settings, there are a number of potential hazards that can lead to injury or even death.
Parking lots are a hot spot for negligent security cases because they are often unmonitored and poorly lit. This creates an opportunity for criminals to rob or attack victims without being seen or identified.
Nightclubs are also a common location for negligent security cases. This is because they are often crowded and chaotic, making it difficult for security guards to watch all guests. Additionally, alcohol consumption can lead to fights breaking out, which can quickly turn violent.
Many apartment complexes do not have adequate security measures in place, such as gates, cameras, or guards. As a result, criminals can enter the premises and commit crimes without being detected.
Lastly, crimes often occur at ATMs, and you may be able to file a negligent security claim as a result. If you are injured at an ATM, and there is inadequate lighting, a lack of security cameras, or the ATM is placed in an isolated area, this can be used as evidence that the bank was negligent.
How to Prove a Negligent Security Claim in Florida
If you were injured on another person’s property due to their negligence in providing adequate security, you might be wondering how to prove a negligent security claim in Florida. Generally speaking, there are four elements that must be present for such a claim to be successful:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care
- The property owner breached their duty
- You sustained injuries as a result of the breach of duty
- Your injuries were reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances
It can be helpful to take a closer look at each of these elements:
- Duty of Care: A property owner or occupier has a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of those legally permitted to be on their premises. This duty is typically highest for invitees, which includes people like customers or patients, but it also extends to licensees, such as delivery people or repairmen, and even trespassers in some cases.
- Breach of Duty: A breach of duty occurs when the property owner fails to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those on their premises and someone is injured. For example, if there is known criminal activity in an area and the property owner does not take steps to address it (such as hiring extra security or installing better lighting), this could be considered a breach of duty if someone was subsequently attacked on the property.
- Actual Injuries: It is not enough for your injuries to simply be foreseeable under the circumstances – you must have actually suffered harm for there to be a valid negligent security claim. This harm can be physical, emotional, or financial in nature. Some examples might include broken bones, lacerations, loss of consciousness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and medical bills.
- Reasonable Foreseeability: For your injuries to be considered reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances, it must have been objectively clear to the reasonable person that there was a danger present and that someone could get hurt if action wasn’t taken to address it.
For example, if there had been several reported instances of assaults in the parking lot of a particular apartment complex over the course of several months, it would likely be considered reasonably foreseeable that someone could get hurt if adequate security measures were not put in place (such as hiring additional guards or increasing lighting).
Generally speaking, the more foreseeable the danger is, the more responsibility the property owner has to take measures to protect against it. For example, a hotel that is located in a high-crime area would have a greater responsibility to take steps to protect its guests from crime than a hotel located in a low-crime area.
Type of Compensation Available for a Successful Negligent Security Claim
There may be various types of compensation for a successful negligence security claim in West Palm Beach. Our team works diligently to recover both economic and non-economic damages on behalf of our clients.
- Economic damages. These are the more measurable losses that individuals will likely incur as a result of the negligent security incident. These calculable losses include compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.
- Non-economic damages. These are the less calculable losses negligent security victims will likely incur due to their injury, the recovery, and any disability caused by the incident. This includes a victim’s physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as any loss of quality of life caused by the incident. This can also include compensation for permanent scarring and disfigurement.
There is no set amount of compensation paid to negligent security victims if their claim is successful. Rather, there are several factors that can influence the final settlement amount. Some of these factors include the overall severity of the injury, how long it takes a person to recover, whether or not there is any permanent disability, insurance policy limitations, and whether or not there was any shared fault.
Economic damages will be calculated by adding up any receipts, bills, or invoices the client receives during the aftermath as well as by working with medical and economic professionals to anticipate future expected expenses caused by the recovery process. Non-economic damages will be calculated using different methods to help ensure that the client receives fair compensation for what they have experienced.
Time Limit for Filing Your Claim
The state of Florida has specific timelines in place for filing personal injury claims. Recently, the state passed a major tort reform law that changed the personal injury statute of limitations. Previously, individuals had four years from the date of an incident to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Now, victims only have two years to file their claims in civil court.
If a victim of negligent security fails to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within this two-year time frame, it is likely that they will lose the ability to recover any compensation at all. We strongly encourage you to reach out to an attorney so you can get the claims process started immediately. Additionally, many insurance carriers involved will also have their own, sometimes ambiguous, deadlines related to these claims. Let your attorney work with the insurance carriers as soon as possible.
Steps to Take Soon After Sustaining Your Injury
The aftermath of a negligent security injury incident can be confusing, but the focus should be on obtaining medical care and preserving the integrity of the injury claim. There are various steps that negligent security victims can take soon after these incidents occur:
- Seek immediate medical assistance. The priority right after an injury occurs is seeking medical treatment for the injury victim. Negligent security injury victims should go right to the emergency room or emergency clinic for an evaluation by a medical professional. Not only does this establish a strong link between the incident and any injuries that occur, but it also helps uncover any hidden injuries that may not show signs or symptoms yet.
- Report the incident. Any negligent security incident must be reported to the property owner as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the situation, the incident may need to be reported to local law enforcement as well. After reporting the incident, make sure to get the name and contact information of the person you reported it to and request any accident report that comes out of the incident.
- Gather and preserve evidence. It may be possible to obtain some evidence soon after the incident occurs, and this should be preserved. This can include photographs taken at the incident scene as well as video surveillance footage available from nearby cameras. Additionally, statements from my witnesses should be obtained relatively quickly. The names and contact information of any witnesses should be written down so they can be contacted to give statements either to an attorney or an insurance carrier.
- Reach out to an attorney. We recommend that individuals seek out assistance from a West Palm Beach negligent security attorney as soon as possible after the incident occurs. An attorney needs to get involved quickly so they can begin communication with other parties involved, including insurance carriers and legal teams for the at-fault party.
- Refer insurance carriers to your lawyer. It is not uncommon for insurance claims adjusters for the at-fault party to reach out to injury victims relatively quickly after the incident. They may even offer some type of monetary settlement, but this initial settlement offer is likely far below what you should receive. Any calls from insurance claims adjusters should be referred to your attorney so your attorney can handle the situation.
- Continue any medical treatment requested. Negligent security victims should continue any medical treatment recommended by their doctor. Any discontinuation of medical care could jeopardize the final settlement or jury verdict.
GOLDLAW Has The Experience You Need
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property because of their negligence in providing adequate security, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. The experienced negligent security lawyers at GOLDLAW can investigate your case and determine if you have a valid claim. Let us help!
- We have been handling negligent security claims for more than two decades.
- We work and live in the area, so we take great pride in our work and dedication to the community.
- We care – our compassionate team is driven to serve you. Most of our references come from past, happy clients. We care about all our clients and place great importance on customer service and client satisfaction.
Contact a West Palm Beach Negligent Security Attorney Today
If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the negligent actions of a property owner, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. If a property owner failed to have adequate security measures in place, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. At GOLDLAW, we have a deep understanding of Florida personal injury law, and we know what it takes to secure compensation for a premises liability and negligent security claim.
Our West Palm Beach negligent security lawyer is ready to offer a free consultation for you and your family today. Let us help you recover the compensation you need to get through this.
Contact us as soon as you can to schedule your free consultation.