Anyone can be the victim of a crime or violent act. Whether you are walking to your car in a parking garage, visiting a doctor in an office complex or shopping in a retail mall, property owners in the state of Florida have a duty to put reasonable security measures in place to protect people who come onto their property. If a property owner fails to do so and the lack of security results in injuries from third-party criminal activity, the injured party may have the right to bring a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner.
A negligent security claim, also referred to as an inadequate security claim, arises when a property owner is negligent in providing adequate security for their premises. If a customer, patron or resident is injured on the premises by a third party or has personal property stolen or damaged, the property owner can be held civilly liable.
The rationale underlying these types of lawsuits is that the owners and possessors of property (such as tenants) have a legal obligation to protect lawful visitors and guests from foreseeable harm on the property. When the landowner or possessor of the property fails to implement reasonable security measures to prevent and deter criminal conduct, and an attack, assault, robbery or other criminal event occurs, the injured party can pursue a negligent security claim.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed as a result of a criminal attack, you may have the right to bring a negligent security claim against the property owner or operator. These types of claims can be complicated and are best handled by an experienced Miami negligent security attorney.
The legal team at Brais Law Firm has the knowledge, skills and resources to handle all types of negligent security cases. Our attorneys represent individuals who have suffered violent attacks and other criminal events by third parties in parking lots, office buildings, hotels, bars, restaurants and other establishments in Miami and South Florida. We offer free consultations to victims and their families and encourage you to contact our firm to schedule an appointment today. We also know that you may have questions about negligent security/inadequate security cases, and we invite you to review the information set forth below.
- Common Types of Negligent/Inadequate Security Cases in
- Security Measures that can Help Prevent Criminal Activity
- Places Where People Tend to be Injured Due to a Lack of Adequate Security
- What Victims Need to Prove in a Negligent Security Claim
- Types of Damages Recoverable in a Negligent or Inadequate Security Lawsuit
While negligent security cases can arise under many different circumstances, these cases tend to involve two primary categories of criminal activity:
Rapes and Sexual Assaults. Unfortunately, rape and sexual assault are among the most common types of violent crimes that can result from an unsafe property environment. Dangerous conditions, such as poorly-lit or unlit staircases, walkways and parking lots can make a property ripe for crime. Additionally, when a bar or nightclub owner fails to make their restroom areas safe, patrons are at risk for being raped or sexually assaulted. Sexual attacks can also occur when the owners of apartment complexes, condominiums and other residential facilities fail to provide adequate security measures, such as properly-functioning locks and windows for their residents.
Batteries, Assaults and Robberies. Batteries and assaults often occur at bars, nightclubs, stadiums and other venues where alcohol is being served. When a vendor fails to provide adequate and properly-trained security personnel, patrons are at risk for being injured in the event a fight or attack breaks out. Innocent people can also suffer grave harm and injuries when property owners and operators fail to take adequate steps to prevent robberies from taking place on their premises.
Criminal activities, such as rape, robbery, assaults and other violent crimes can have serious and long-lasting effects on victims, including physical injuries, emotional distress and loss of property. In these instances, the victim may be entitled to recover damages incurred because of the property owner’s or operator’s failure to implement reasonable security measures and precautions.Security Measures that can Help Prevent Criminal Activity
Oftentimes, innocent victims suffer criminal attacks and assaults that could have been prevented. While there are many circumstances that can make a property unsafe and lead to criminal activity, property owners, operators and landlords can take reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable crimes on their properties. These measures include:
- Adequate and properly-trained security guards and patrols
- Properly-lit walkways, staircases, hallways and parking lots and garages
- Surveillance cameras
- Security systems
- Properly-functioning door and window locks
- Walls and fencing with adequate locking systems
- Maintaining bushes and landscape
- Sufficient lighting around ATMs
- Warning persons of known dangers
Negligent security claims arise on all types of properties. Some of the most common locations in Miami and South Florida associated with negligent/inadequate security lawsuits include:
- Bars and nightclubs
- Hotels and resorts
- Shopping malls and other retail establishments
- Office complexes
- Work sites
- Stadiums and theaters
- Parking lots, parking garages and other public places
- Apartment complexes, condominiums
- College and university campuses
- Amusement parks
- Cruise ships
- Trains, planes, buses and taxis
- Other commercial and residential properties
Negligent security claims generally fall under the category of premises liability claims. These types of case are filed in civil court and plaintiffs can seek monetary recovery from the property owner or operator for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses and damages. In Florida, to prevail in a negligent or inadequate security lawsuit, your Miami negligent security attorney will need to prove the following elements:
- The property owner/operator had a legal duty to provide for your safety. Under Florida law, property owners and operators have a duty to protect their customers and guests from known dangers (and dangers they should have known about). For instance, if you are staying at a resort in the Miami area, the resort has a legal duty to take reasonable security measures to protect you from harm.
- The criminal activity was reasonably foreseeable. The foreseeability of the criminal activity is often one of the most critical issues in a negligent security case. To determine whether the crime was reasonably foreseeable, the court may evaluate different factors, including the type and location of the establishment, hours of operation and any prior criminal activity that occurred on or around the property. A court will often use local crime grids reporting past incidents of crimes on the property and in surrounding areas to assess the level of risk and determine whether the property owner/operator took appropriate security precautions to prevent foreseeable crimes from taking place on the property.
- The property owner/operator breached the legal duty by failing to take reasonable measures to provide adequate security. Determining whether the property owner or operator provided adequate security is not always a straightforward task. The court’s determination of what is adequate security will depend upon the specific facts of the case and will vary from property to property. For instance, if there have been prior crimes on the premises, the property owner/operator may need to increase the level of security on the property.
- The breach of duty caused your injury. This element turns upon whether the property owner’s or operator’s failure to provide adequate security was the “proximate” or legal cause of your injuries. In order for the property owner or operator to be held liable for the injuries cause by a third-party criminal attack, you must be able to show that: (i) if the property owner/operator had provided adequate security, the attack could have been prevented; and (ii) the property owner or operator was the predominant or sole cause of your injuries. For instance, if you were sexually assaulted in a staircase at a hotel that had a known malfunctioning lock on the exit door, you will need to establish that the broken lock on the exit door was the proximate cause of your being assaulted in the staircase. In a case such as this, the property owner or operator may attempt to raise the defense that a “superseding cause” intervened that actually caused your injuries, such as the assailant did not gain entry to the staircase through the door with the malfunctioning lock.
- You suffered damages as a result. If you were sexually assaulted or otherwise victimized on the property by criminal activity perpetrated by a third party, this will establish the damage element of the case. The types of monetary damages you can recover will depend upon your specific injuries and losses.
If you were victimized by criminal activity at a hotel, bar, restaurant, apartment complex, retail store or any other type of property in the Miami/South Florida area, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. A Miami negligent security attorney at our firm will work with you to build a strong case establishing that the property owner/operator failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that adequate safety measures were in place on the premises. In Florida, if you can prove your case for negligent or inadequate security, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your damages, which may include but is not limited to damages associated with:
- Medical Bills. Often, the injuries that victims sustain in negligent security case require costly and ongoing medical care. You may be able to collect monetary compensation for your past, current and future health care expenses related to your injuries.
- Loss of wages or income. If you were injured as a result of the criminal activity and were forced to miss work, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your past, present and future lost wages.
- Future loss of earning capacity. In some negligent security cases, victims may suffer a loss of future earning capacity because of injuries sustained in the assault, attack or other violent crime. The future loss of earning capacity takes into account the difference between what you will reasonably be able to earn in the future considering your injuries and what you would have been able to earn if you had not been injured.
- Loss or damage to personal property. Often, negligent or inadequate security cases involve robberies and theft that take place on the premises. If you have sustained a loss of or damage to personal property as a result of the criminal event, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your personal property losses and damages.
- Pain and suffering. Unfortunately, there are times when victims suffer traumatic injuries or are killed because of the criminal act. If you experience physical and/or emotional damage associated with the criminal event, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are meant to compensate a victim for the loss of the ability to enjoy life’s activities. If you are unable to participate in the pleasures and activities of life that you enjoyed before the incident occurred, you may be able to collect monetary damages for your loss of enjoyment of life.
- Other damages. Depending upon the injuries and losses you have sustained, you may be entitled to collect other damages in your case, including damages associated with physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress and loss of consortium.
In addition to the damages discussed above, if our Miami negligent security attorney is able to prove that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or outrageous, we may recommend that you pursue a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate or make the victim whole; rather, they are designed to punish the defendant for grossly inappropriate actions and set an example to deter similar conduct in the future.A Miami Negligent Security Attorney at Our Law Firm can Help
Negligent or inadequate security cases tend to be complex and difficult to prove. If have been victimized by a crime or other violent activity that took place in a Miami or South Florida area shopping center, resort, condominium, apartment or any other type of commercial or residential property, the attorneys at Brais Law Firm are prepared to help. We understand just how traumatic these events can be, and we are dedicated to helping you get maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Call our legal team today to schedule a free consultation at 1-800-499-0551. You can also get in touch with our Miami/South Florida negligent security lawyers by completing our online contact form or emailing our firm.