Injured due to a property owner's negligence
while in a public venue? We can help.
Every person deserves to not simply feel that he or she is safe while in a restaurant, bar, hotel, hospital, apartment complex, residential community, and virtually all other public venues, but he or she has the legal right to be safe from injury and crime. The owner and the operator of any public venue have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in establishing, creating, and maintaining a safe and secure environment. Unfortunately, many fail to do so, and dangerous people are permitted to enter the area and then proceed on the premises to hurt people. What can be done so people can be safe?
In Plantation and surrounding areas, commercial and residential landlords must take steps to recognize reasonably foreseeable threats, implement security policies that protect the public from those threats, and stay vigilant to prevent those threats from becoming criminal incidents. Many in Plantation and other cities in South Florida have recently installed highly-visible, deterrence-based, closed-circuit television cameras that capture video and audio. Think RING but on a larger more complex and connected scale.
Negligent security case settled near Plantation
In Davie, a town bordering Plantation, our law firm represented a woman who was murdered by her next-door neighbor in a condo complex. The murderer had made threats of harm to the victim in the weeks prior to killing her. The victim had reported those threats to the property management company, and to the board of directors of the condo association. However, the victim was too fearful to call the police. Ultimately, we established through the property manager’s testimony and the CEO of the property management company that management should have done more to protect our clients when they learned of the threats. The matter was settled very favorably for our clients, the victim’s son and daughters.
Negligent security vs. premises liability lawsuit
Negligent security cases are similar to premises liability cases. Both claims involve a property owner's failure to keep an injured visitor safe. However, negligent security claims also involve a third party who injures the guest while committing an act that is criminal in most cases. Property owners may not be able to prevent every criminal act that may occur on their property. Nevertheless, they are required by law to make their best effort to prevent foreseeable crime from taking place on their property. Foreseeability is a subjective concept. Nevertheless, a property owner who allows a crime to take place on his or her property may be subjected to a rebuttable presumption of negligence in Florida civil court.
Establishing a negligent security claim
When filing a claim for compensation, victims of a negligent security accident must establish certain elements. Plaintiffs must prove:
- the victim was lawfully present on the premises
- the property owner did not implement reasonable security measures
- the property owner should have reasonably foreseen the criminal act that injured the plaintiff
- the plaintiff sustained damages as a result of the criminal act
A Plantation, Florida personal injury attorney like Rick Ellsley of The Ellsley Law Firm can help accident victims devise a winning legal strategy. Counsel will work tirelessly to prove the victim's case in civil court.
Causes of negligent security incidents
Negligent security incidents refer to a variety of harmful attacks that take place on business properties. Common causes of negligent security injuries include:
- broken door or window locks
- dim lighting
- non-functioning security system
- improperly-trained security
- lack of background checks on employees
Landlords in apartment buildings have a duty to repair broken door and window locks in a timely manner. Failure to do so may leave residents susceptible to unlawful entry and violent attacks. Parking lots and walkways near stores and in residential communities require adequate lighting to help residents and visitors be aware of their surroundings. If a property owner has a security system in place, the system must always be kept in working order. In the event that the security system is not working, the property owner should notify residents and guests immediately to bring awareness to the potential hazard.
Sometimes a business employs security personnel. Security staff should be properly trained to keep the premises secure and to deescalate situations and keep them from turning violent. In some cases, a visitor may become injured by an overzealous security guard who assaults him or her without a valid cause. In these instances, the injured party may be able to file a claim against the property owner for hiring improperly trained security personnel. The security company that provided the improperly-trained security staff member may also be liable.
Businesses may also be liable for the criminal acts of their employees. If a business employs someone who has a criminal record, the business may be liable if that employee commits a similar crime against a visitor. For example, a retail store may be liable for injuries caused by a cashier who has multiple battery charges and proceeds to assault a customer. Businesses should thoroughly screen prospective employees to reduce the chance of this occurring.
Knowing your rights
Florida business owners have several responsibilities when it comes to keeping guests and customers safe. Businesses have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe from hazards. Part of the duty to maintain reasonably safe premises is to implement security measures to prevent robbery, assaults, theft, and property damage. Customers and other guests who are injured while visiting a business due to a lack of reasonable security measures may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
If you were injured in a Plantation, Florida negligent security accident, you may have legal recourse. A Florida personal injury lawyer can help accident victims determine liability and file a claim accordingly. Let the dedicated legal team at The Ellsley Law Firm get to work to get you paid.