Negligent security lawsuits are asserted by people who are attacked or victimized while on someone else’s property. In Florida, the laws that govern negligent security cases are the same as those that control premises liability. Under premises liability law, a property owner may be held liable for the injuries of another which resulted from a dangerous condition on the property. Negligent security law focuses on a specific type of dangerous condition on a property: Attacks by third-parties.
Land and business owners’ legal duty to provide safe premises for their people on their property includes a duty to protect them against harm caused by the criminal acts of third parties when those criminal acts are foreseeable. Criminal acts are foreseeable when they can reasonably be expected under the circumstances. For example, if a person lives in an apartment building that has a history of crime, it is foreseeable that crime will continue to occur into the future. Likewise, if you go to a shopping mall that is located in an area known for high crime, it is foreseeable that you might be attacked or assaulted in some way. In both of these examples, the property owner has a duty to provide adequate security to protect you.
When a property owner fails to put adequate security measures in place, people on the property are put at risk for criminal attack. Poor security has too often resulted in the injury or death of innocent victims. Examples of security measures include providing properly trained security guards, security cameras, adequate lighting, locks, alarms systems, gates, fences and signs. Obviously, the levels and types of the security measures will vary depending upon the location and type of business being operated, as well as the history of crime in the area.
When a law firm first takes on a negligent security case, the most vital phase of the case begins, which is investigation. Although evidence develops throughout the course of litigation, the initial investigation is the hallmark of a successful case. The first step in investigating a negligent security case is to visit the site of the incident to get an understanding of the type of property and the surrounding area. The next step involves getting the “crime grids” for the area surrounding the property. A “crime grid” is a map that covers a particular area and it lists all crime in that area. It is usually broken down by date, type of crime and address. In this way, it can be determined the extent and types of crimes that are prevalent in a given area. For example, if there are a lot of violent crimes occurring in an area surrounding a property, it is reasonable that the property owner should implement some or all of the crime prevention protocols described above to protect visitors. It can also be helpful to perform some surveillance of the property to see what types of individuals frequent the area. Finally, an expert witness will need to be retained who can analyze all of the data and provide opinions about the property owner’s liability.
If you have been a victim of crime on someone else’s property, it is important to have attorneys who can guide you through the legal process and provide knowledgeable representation. At the Law Offices of Jose M. Francisco, we have successfully litigated many cases where the failure of a land or business owner to provide adequate security resulted in severe, life altering injuries to guests.