Negligent Security Injury Cases in Florida.
Negligent security occurs when a property fails to use reasonable care to secure its property and, as a result of that negligence, a client, customer, or guest is injured or killed.
Obviously, Florida is the capital of tourism in the United States, and there are many guests that visit various attractions. This means business owners that invite customers have an obligation to take reasonable precautions to protect those guests.
What Business Fall Into This Category?
Examples of the types of businesses that typically have challenges with their obligation to secure their premises are the following:
– Retail stores
– Apartment complexes
– Gas stations
– and virtually any other establishment inviting customers to their premises for business purposes. Florida law imposes on these business owners the obligation to use reasonable efforts to secure their guests from harm that is foreseeable or should be foreseeable using reasonable care.
Crime, Locations, and Owner Responsibility
Some Florida businesses are located in higher crime areas than others. Tourists are especially vulnerable to this type of harm since they have little if any information about which areas of town are more susceptible to violent activity than others. A history of violent activity at or near a business will impose upon that business owner a higher duty to provide reasonable security. Many times, this means that the business or property owner will be required to hire a security service. Then the security service takes on the legal obligation to provide reasonable services.
Examples of Negligent Security
There are countless examples of instances where you or a loved one can be a victim of negligent security. Here are a few examples,
1. A couple out to dinner at a restaurant are encouraged by the business to park their vehicle in an adjacent lot, and as they walk to their car, they are assaulted. The lighting in the area is not reasonable.
2. Apartment complexes become aware of a frequent trespasser that is burglarizing vehicles and take no steps to improve lighting or security. Then one night, that person or another commits a violent crime against a resident or guest of the complex. The property management company and/or the property owner may be liable in a Florida negligent security case.
3. A bartender who serves someone they know to be intoxicated and then that customer assaults another customer and causes severe injuries. The facility owner could be liable for not having adequately trained bartenders or for not having adequate security to protect customers from those who are over served.
4. A hotel overbooks guests for a big weekend, and their staff negligently provides a key to a room that is already occupied. The room access gives a criminal the ability to commit both property damage crimes and crimes that cause injuries.
Legal Requirements to Prove a Negligent Security Case in Florida
The plaintiff (injured party) must first prove that the property owner or operator had a duty to protect the injured party. This is typically as easy as just being a guest of the business. In fact, just so you are not a trespasser (even though sometimes that is allowed under Florida law), there will likely be a duty to protect you from foreseeable harm.
Once the plaintiff in a Florida negligent security case has established that they are owed a duty of care, They then must prove that the defendant breached this duty of care. This is shown in most every case by showing that the property owner or operator acted unreasonable or negligent in securing the business or acted unreasonable in taking adequate precautions to protect its customers from foreseeable harm. The plaintiff then has to prove that the breach of this duty caused them to suffer injury or damage.
These elements of a Florida Negligent Security case can be proven by submitted evidence in the form of documents, photographs, videos, prior police reports, depositions, and expert witness reviews of the business and its practices.
Allowable Damages in Florida Negligent Security Cases
The amount of damages available to a victim of a Florida negligent security case would include the following:
1. Medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
2. lost wages incurred as a result of the negligence-caused injuries
3. Property damage caused as a result of the business owner’s failure to take reasonable precautions.
4. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, disability. disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of the capacity to enjoy life.
What Counts As Adequate Security?
Adequate security for a particular property will vary from case to case. Some common security features for violent personal crimes are adequately trained security patrols during business hours or when guests are expected to be at the property, appropriate lighting, functioning security hardware such as locks, and restricting the ability to hand out duplicate keys to common areas of residential complexes.
In some states, there are statutes that create an inference of no negligence when a particular type of business takes certain security measures. For example, in Florida, there is a presumption against liability for third party criminal attacks for convenience store owners that take certain precautions listed in Florida Statutes §§ 812.173 and 812.174. These precautions include installing a security camera system, putting a notice in the form of a sign that says the cash register contains less than $50, and using a drop safe.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.