What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security occurs when a visitor to a property is assaulted, shot, raped, robbed, or is the victim of some other type of violent act. Since the owner of a property must ensure the safety of visitors, the owner could be responsible for the resulting injuries. Negligent security cases are premises liability issues, meaning property owners are usually responsible for anything which occurs on their property.
When a person is harmed or placed in harm’s way as a result of inadequate or negligent security, that person may have a negligent security claim against the liable party. A negligent security claim can provide a way for an injured person to receive compensation for any losses experienced due to negligent security. In short, if there was an injury which resulted in a loss and the injury was due to the intentional or unintentional negligence of the property owner as far as security is concerned, then a negligent security claim could be warranted.
Under state law, commercial establishments have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, and this involves taking steps to ensure the safety of guests. This duty includes the obligation to be aware of issues in the surrounding community. As an example, if there have been a number of car-jackings at a gas station over the past couple of months, then the owner of the gas station has a duty to take steps to protect those who come in to fill up with gas. This could include hiring a security guard, installing surveillance cameras or taking other measures to ensure customers are safe.
If you have been injured due to negligent security, you need an experienced Florida negligent security attorney in your corner. We understand the trauma you may have experienced due to the negligent security issue, and we vow to be with you every step of the way. You may be dealing with the aftermath of injuries, both physical and emotional as well as financial issues resulting from your inability to return to work as well as the medical expenses resulting from your injuries. At Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, we have a deep understanding of negligent security claims, and the experience to back it up. The attorney you see is the one who will be with you throughout your case because we believe in a personalized experience.
What Incidents Can Occur When Negligent Security Exists?
Suppose you are robbed or assaulted while removing money from an ATM machine, assaulted, robbed or raped in the parking lot of the hotel where you are staying, mugged in a shopping center parking lot or carjacked at a gas station—any of these incidents could trigger a negligent security claim. If a hotel has had assaults in their parking lot, they have a duty to add lighting, hire more security guards, perhaps build a tall fence around the parking lot with a customer code necessary to come inside or add more video surveillance. Whatever it takes to provide for the safety and security of customers must be undertaken by the owner of the property to avoid negligent security claims. In short, if similar crimes have previously occurred on the premises, or if it could reasonably be deduced that a crime could occur, then criminal activity is foreseeable, and the owner could be liable for a criminal act.
Where Do Negligent Security Incidents Occur?
Although negligent security incidents can occur at virtually any public or private place, those most likely to be targeted by criminal activity include:
- A hotel or motel
- The parking lot of a hotel or motel
- An apartment building or complex
- ATM machines
- Malls and mall parking lots
- Restaurant parking lots
- Bars, lounges and nightclubs
- College dorms and college campuses
- Parks and recreational areas
- Parking garages
- Truck stops
- Sports arenas
- Retail stores
- Office buildings
Determining Whether You Have a Valid Negligent Security Claim
If you suffered an injury due to negligent security, your attorney will want to discuss the answers to the following questions with you to determine whether you have a solid claim. The questions include:
- Were there functioning locks on all the doors (if your injuries occurred inside)?
- Was there adequate lighting in the area where the criminal act occurred?
- Had prior violent criminal activity occurred at or hear the area of the crime?
- Was there an alarm system in place?
- Was there a surveillance system in place;
- Had the owner hired private security guards for areas with an unusually high crime rate?
The determination of whether there were adequate security measures in place will depend heavily on the actual premises and the likelihood of a crime occurring—whether it was reasonably foreseeable that a criminal act could occur in the area. Negligent security is proven by showing that the property owner or manager had a duty of care—that is, the property owner or manager had a responsibility to keep visitors safe. Further, you must have been on the property legally (not trespassing), and the criminal activity in the area must have been foreseeable. The property owner must have breached his or her duty of care by failing to provide sufficient security on the premises. Finally, you must have suffered serious injury due to the lack of security, and subsequently suffered monetary and/or physical damages as a result of the criminal act.
Common Defenses to a Negligent Security Claim
When you file a negligent security claim, you must expect the owner or manager of the property to claim they were not responsible for your injuries. Some of the most common defenses include:
- There was adequate security, despite the incident;
- The property owner owed no duty of care to the injured person;
- You are partially responsible for the attack because you failed to exercise reasonable care and caution, or
- There were no available security measures which could have deterred the crime against you.
An experienced negligent security attorney from Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti can skillfully counter such defenses, working hard to obtain the compensation you deserve for your negligent security injuries.
Injuries Following a Negligent Security Incident
Injuries caused by a third-party on unsafe premises are often extremely serious, even catastrophic, in nature. This means traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries and other very serious injuries can occur in a negligent security incident. PTSD—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can also occur after a person experiences a vicious attack, particularly in an area where he or she expected to be safe. A person attacked and left with serious injuries can spend months, years, or even a lifetime recovering from the injuries and from the emotional trauma resulting from the injuries. Because of this, it is important to speak with an experienced Florida negligent security attorney as soon as possible after the incident. You deserve to have your medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering and emotional trauma paid for by the negligent property owner.
Steps to Take Following a Negligent Security Incident
If you or a loved one are the victim of a negligent security incident, it is important that you immediately notify law enforcement as well as the manager or owner of the property. You must also immediately seek medical attention for your injuries. Following your attack, once you are able, write down every detail you can remember of the incident, and if you are able, take photos of the area which show negligent security was the cause of your attack. Keep a file with all your medical expenses as well as anything you remember about the attack which will help support your claim.
How a Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti Attorney Can Help with Your Negligent Security Claim
Negligent security claims can be quite complex, full of unique situations and circumstances. Because of this, it is extremely important that you retain an experienced negligent security attorney from Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti to represent you in your negligent security claim. Our firm has the legal and financial resources necessary to properly develop your case prior to trial. We are very experienced negotiators who will work aggressively to settle your case out of court for an amount which fully covers your expenses related to the attack, however when negotiation does not result in a fair settlement, we are aggressive, uncompromising litigators. Contact Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti today to discuss your negligent security claim.