Have you ever felt anxious in an empty, dimly lit parking lot at night? Of course you have. These types of situations put us on edge because we know we’re vulnerable to a potential attack or crime.
Obviously, no one should have to go through this. But if you are made victim of a crime or attacked under these circumstances, you should know that you may have a negligent security suit on your hands. The idea behind negligent security is that while store and property owners aren’t directly responsible for criminal acts, they can potentially be held liable if they failed to protect you from a crime that they could reasonably foresee happening.
Negligent security cases fall under premise liability laws and can happen at stores, hotels, restaurants, malls, housing complexes, hospitals, parking lots or garages, and more. Property owners can be accused of negligent security if they didn’t appropriately guard a person and their property. And even though property owners can’t guarantee every person’s safety, they have to respond to potential risks.
How can property owners tell what may or may not be a potential risk?
Well, it all depends on the type of property, its location, how appealing it is to criminals, and whether or not there’s been prior criminal activity on or around the property. If a restaurant is located in a high crime area where there have been previous criminal incidents, the restaurant owner will have to take serious security measures to ensure the safety of its restaurant goers. Whereas a restaurant in a low crime area without any previous criminal incidents might be perfectly fine doing a lot less.
Examples of negligent security might include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Faulty security systems
- Inadequate or no surveillance
- Security guard negligence or absence
Proving Negligent Security
Proving negligent security is similar to proving negligence if you were injured in a store. A court will have to prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, that someone could be victimized on their property.
Since there’s no overall rule that designates precisely when security is needed or what the proper amount of security is, a top personal injury attorney may consult with a security expert to determine whether or not you have a case. A security expert can evaluate the property and any existing security measures, along with crime occurrences in the area, to determine whether the property owner failed to meet security expectations or acted reasonably.
This information can be used to construct a case that shows the property owner should have recognized a potential risk and didn’t take adequate steps to lessen or eliminate that risk.
After it’s determined that a property owner is responsible for protecting customers, visitors, and employees, the next step is figuring out how much security is necessary. This will depend on the property and the circumstances surrounding that property. As previously mentioned, higher crime rates and previous criminal incidents will require more security – especially if prior crimes have been violent.
If those measures haven’t been taken, a victim is entitled to damages he or she may have suffered from personal injuries, lost wages, and even emotional trauma. If you believe you are the victim of negligent security, you should contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer today who can help you seek justice and compensation for any damages you suffered.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.