Have you or a loved one been the victim of a violent crime at work or a place of business? Expert premises liability lawyers at Lorenzo & Lorenzo are highly skilled at prosecuting inadequate security cases in Florida.
No business or employer wants harm to come to its patrons/workers or crime to occur on its premises. However, wanting something and doing something about it are two different things. Studies indicate that adequate security comes from supplying the 3 L’s – location, lighting and landscape. The more levels of security there are, the less likely a criminal will act. Negligent security can include failing to provide these and other protections like security cameras, an alarm system, door locks, fencing and security patrol.
A majority of negligent security verdicts and settlements revolve around assault and battery cases (42%), with the remaining cases involving sexual assault and rape (26%), wrongful death (15%), robbery (9%), false imprisonment (4%) and miscellaneous cases of home invasion, carjacking and arson (4%). While no environment can be considered 100% safe, businesses and property owners are required by law to reasonably anticipate potential dangers to patrons, employees and visitors.
For nearly 20 years, George Lorenzo and his team of highly skilled premises liability experts have fought for the rights of individuals injured and killed during a physical assault while on another person’s property.
Our expert personal injury lawyers have successfully won inadequate and negligent security cases throughout Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and across the state of Florida.
Lorenzo & Lorenzo fights back to hold businesses and commercial property owners accountable for inadequate security.
What is “Negligent Security”?
Under Florida’s premises liability laws, a business, property owner or possessor has several legal obligations to provide security to individuals who enter their establishment for the purpose of business. These legal duties include:
- Using reasonable care to maintain a safe environment for visitors;
- Using reasonable care to discover any dangers present on the premises;
- Warning invitees of any concealed dangers they might otherwise not be aware of in the exercise of reasonable care; and
- Taking reasonable steps to correct or adequately resolve a dangerous condition.
Negligent or inadequate security is when the property owner falls short of one or more of these legal duties. Specifically, negligent security cases commonly revolve around the foreseeability of injury or harm occurring on a commercial property due to criminal acts, such as criminal assault, armed robbery, sexual assault or molestation.
Who Is Held Accountable for Inadequate Security?
Typically, the plaintiff in a negligent security case is the person (or persons) who was injured as a result of the criminal action, and has filed a claim against the owner, operator or manager of the property.
The defendants are usually people or businesses who were in a position to prevent harm or reduce the possibility of danger to the plaintiff, but failed to act on account of negligence. Negligent security injuries commonly occur at:
- Day care centers
- Schools & colleges/universities
- Apartment complexes
- Parking garages
- Hotels, motels and condominiums
- Shopping centers & malls
- Bars, restaurants & private clubs
- Convenience stores & gas stations
- Theme parks & attractions
- Other public buildings and property
The Concept of Foreseeability & Proximate Cause
In almost all personal injury and premises liability cases, the question “Who was at fault?” must be answered. In order to assign liability, it must be determined if harm was foreseeable – or should have been anticipated – and if reasonable care was taken. Foreseeability is the primary method of determining proximate cause. There are few instances when harm is “unforeseeable”:
- Unforeseeable Type of Injury. When injury to another person does not foreseeably originate from a negligent act, no party can be held liable.
- Unforeseeable Manner of Injury. When another person is harmed by a superseding cause (i.e. acts of God, burglary and other actions by a third-party) that was unforeseeable, breaking the direct link between a negligent act and the injury, the person who committed the initial negligent act may be released of liability.
- Unforeseeable Extent of Injury. When a person is injured due to an act of negligence, the negligent person can be held liable, regardless of whether or not the extent of harm was foreseeable by the at-fault party (also known as the “Eggshell Skull” rule). For instance, if the victim of an assault in a store parking lot was pregnant and therefore requires thousands of dollars of medical treatment, the store may be held liable for the full extent of damages – despite the fact that the store could not foresee that the victim would be pregnant.
Foreseeability in negligent security cases typically arises out of crimes of opportunity rather than premeditated criminal acts. For example, a crime of opportunity is when a criminal sees a poorly lit ATM with no security cameras and decides to rob the person. However, if a person is intent on injuring or killing a certain person, location is not a major factor and therefore negligent security can be difficult to prove.
Criminal Charges vs. Negligent Security
Depending on the incident, a person caught for armed robbery, sexual assault or molestation may face criminal charges for their actions. In addition to being prosecuted by the criminal court system, the defendant may also be sued for financial damages in civil court by the victim or their family. While the role of the criminal justice system is to punish those found guilty of criminal acts with prison time and fines, these proceedings do little to compensate the victims for their losses. A negligent security injury claim must often be filed to compensate the victim and their families.
Contact an Expert Inadequate Security Law Firm in Tampa
Lorenzo & Lorenzo is a leading Florida personal injury law firm, specializing in negligent security and other premises liability cases. If you’re looking for an experienced attorney who can give your case the personal attention and skilled representation it deserves, then you’ve come to the right place. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Schedule your free negligent security case evaluation today.