Premises Liability/Negligent Security in Florida
In Florida, commercial business owners, property managers, landlords, and other types of property owners have a legal duty to take the necessary steps in order to secure their premises and prevent harm to patrons or residents. If a property owner fails to do so, they can be held responsible for any resultant injuries, or stolen or damaged property. Poorly secured premises can result in someone getting mugged, assaulted, or otherwise sustaining serious physical and/or emotional injuries.
In addition to property owners, security guards on certain grounds, doormen for certain residences, and bouncers at clubs are considered security providers and can be held liable for consequences which result from their negligence or failure to secure the premises on which they work or own. For example, if the owner of a club failed to properly staff the premises with security guards and a fight broke out as a result, then the owner would be held responsible for any injuries that were sustained as a result of that fight. Under such circumstances, the victim may not be able to catch or obtain compensation from the individual who actually harmed them, but they would be able to bring a claim against the property owner, arguing that the fight would not have occurred had the club been properly staffed and secured.
In Florida, winning a negligent security case relies upon the ability to prove three elements, the first of which is that the property owner in question indeed had a legal obligation to provide “basic security measures” for the premises in question. The specific security measures that would be considered basic will differ depending upon the type of premises involved. Most commonly, basic security measures include sufficient lighting, a sufficient amount of security staff, and functioning locks.
The second element which must be proven is that the injury or harm sustained by the victim was indeed due to the property owner’s failure to ensure that basic security measures were being met. For example, if the owner of an apartment building did not install or maintain functioning locks on a resident’s door and that resident was robbed or burglarized as a result, then the owner may be held liable for the injuries or damages that occurred as a result of that event.
Lastly, it must be proven that the plaintiff sustained injuries or damages to their body or property as a result of the event. For example, someone who sustained a broken arm and had their wallet stolen during a robbery in the aforementioned scenario would likely have a valid negligent security claim.
Since negligent security cases can be complicated, anyone who suspects they might have a valid claim should seek the advice of an experienced Daytona Beach negligent security lawyer who can review the facts of their case.
What Is A Negligent Security Lawsuit?
Negligent security lawsuits are filed against property owners who fail or who are presumed to have failed to maintain basic security measures on their property, and as a result, someone suffers bodily harm or damage to their property. In an attempt to ensure the safety of their patrons, every business in Florida has an obligation to consider and prevent foreseeable dangers which could occur on their premises.
How Do You Prove A Negligent Security Claim?
In order to prove a negligent security claim, the following three elements must be met: the property owner must have had a duty to provide basic security measures for the premises, the injury must have been both foreseeable and the result of a failure to provide one or more of those basic security measures, and the plaintiff must have suffered damages-whether those damages were financial, emotional, or physical in nature.
When Should I File My Negligent Security Lawsuit?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a negligent security lawsuit is four years from the date of the injury. If someone’s friend or family member died as the result of negligence on someone’s property, then they would have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Florida Is A Comparative Fault State. What Does That Mean?
Comparative fault takes into consideration the degree or percentage of fault that rests on the parties involved in an incident. This means that if a plaintiff can be shown to have contributed in part to their own injuries, then they will receive an amount of compensation that has been reduced according to the amount of fault attributable to them.
How Much Can I Receive In Damages?
There are two types of damages that a victim can receive: compensatory and punitive. While the former type is focused on helping the victim get back on their feet and compensating them for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc., the latter type is aimed at punishing the at-fault party. In Florida, there is no limit to the amount of compensatory damages that a victim may receive, but there is an upper limit of $500,000 placed on punitive damages.
A property owner is subject to premises liability laws, which dictate that property owners can be held liable for injuries and damages sustained by individuals while they are on the owner’s premises. For example, if a sexual or physical assault, murder, robbery, or theft occurred on someone’s property and if it can be shown that the owner of that property failed to maintain safe and secure conditions on that property, then they may be charged with negligent security. A property owner may fail to meet their obligation to maintain safe and secure conditions by failing to ensure regular and thorough property inspections, intentionally overlooking or hiding safety hazards, or failing to maintain a sufficient amount of security staff in order to prevent foreseeable crimes.
In some jurisdictions, common law dictates that a property owner is obligated to exert reasonable care to maintain the safety and security of their premises under all circumstances and will be held liable for any injuries a victim sustains-regardless of whether the victim was an invited guest or a trespasser. In other jurisdictions, certain exceptions could be made for injuries sustained by trespassers on a property; this is certainly true in civil liability neglect cases. In addition, according to Florida statute §768.075, a property owner will not be held liable for injuries sustained by legally intoxicated trespassers; the only exception to this statute is in cases of “gross negligence” or “intentional misconduct” by the property owner.
Poorly secured and unsafe premises can open the door to violent crimes which can lead a victim to suffer physical disability, physical and emotional pain, disfigurement, or even death. Anyone who believes they might have a valid negligence claim should contact an attorney in order to obtain compensation for associated medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or funeral expenses. In an attempt to prove a case, an attorney will study the relevant crime statistics and obtain photos and witness statements in order to determine whether or not the event could have been prevented.