Are you the victim of a violent of crime? Has the state attorney’s office or district attorney’s office contacted you about what happened? Has the criminal defendant been charged with a crime? During my time as a prosecutor, I watched victims and their families trust the criminal justice system to make things right. What many fail to realize is that the criminal justice system is there to punish criminals for their actions, not to compensate victims for their losses. While prosecutors work to put criminals behind bars, negligent security lawyers help victims financially recover for their losses.
Unless you knowingly choose to go somewhere dangerous, you expect a certain standard of safety wherever you go. The good news is that the law agrees with you.
If you live in an apartment complex, you deserve to feel safe in your home. If you’re staying at a hotel, you must be able to walk the halls safely at night. The same goes for parking your car at a garage. You should be able to enjoy a night out at a bar or club without fearing violence.
If you become the victim of a crime on someone else’s property, the criminal justice system will handle the perpetrator. But the owner or operator of the property could also be held legally responsible in civil court for the security conditions that led to the crime.
For some Miami businesses or landowners, keeping a property safe means hiring adequate security to protect members of the public on or around their premises. They may have to install a video surveillance system, panic button, or other security measures.
Security is a serious responsibility. Hiring good security is also expensive. Unfortunately, some companies would rather not spend the money, which puts people’s lives at risk. If you’ve been hurt in a crime because of negligent security, you could have a legal right to sue. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a negligent security attorney about your case.
What Is a Negligent Security Claim?
Property owners and business operators in Miami have a legal duty to protect their customers, visitors, or tenants from foreseeable dangers on their property. If a property manager or landowner fails to live up to this duty, innocent people can get hurt – or worse.
A “foreseeable danger” can be anything on or around the property that could cause an accident and injure someone. A “foreseeable danger” can also mean an opportunity for crime.
Crime can be a foreseeable danger if:
- The purpose or operating hours of a business make it vulnerable to crime,
- There have been similar crimes in the area so the business is aware of the risk,
- The crimes have happened recently, no more than a few years ago, and
- The business is located close to where the crimes occurred.
Imagine a nightclub with a dark parking lot in the back. Without proper lighting or security cameras to catch criminals in the act, the property could become a target for robberies, even violent or armed assaults. The club owner should take these conditions into consideration, especially since the business functions primarily at night and patrons often carry cash.
If a nightclub has actually experienced crime on or around the property, that’s even stronger evidence that the owner should put better security measures in place.
What Is Inadequate Security?
We all have some sense of safety wherever we go. That sense shifts naturally based on our surroundings. You’re bound to feel safer walking next to a school during the daytime versus a highway gas station or convenience store at night.
So what makes security adequate? The answer depends on where you are. Negligent security cases are fact-specific. That means every case is unique based on the circumstances. An office building has different security needs compared to a bank or restaurant. A property or business owner’s legal duty to provide security will vary based on the environment.
This is why getting a negligent security lawyer is helpful – a legal expert who is familiar with these cases can determine how successful your claim can be based on the facts.
Examples of Negligent Security
Despite being aware of the dangers around them, some business or property owners still don’t invest in security, leaving their customers, patrons, visitors, or tenants at risk.
Inadequate or negligent security could look like:
- Not enough lighting around the property, or no lighting at all
- Lacking a security system with security cameras, alarms, or locking mechanisms
- Failing to fix broken or malfunctioning security equipment
- No security guards or untrained security guards who fail to act properly in an emergency
- Broken fencing or unlocked doors or gates
- Blocked emergency exits
In some cases, multiple businesses or property owners could be responsible for security.
For example, A mall or shopping center may have its own security system that works with store owners. The landlord of a strip club may be responsible for maintaining the lights and security cameras while the club owner hires their own security guards. A business owner may contract out their security to another company responsible for training their guards.
When filing a negligent security claim, determining who is responsible for providing a secure environment is an important but sometimes complicated step. A negligent security lawyer can help you collect the evidence you need to establish fault and responsibility.
Can You Sue for Lack of Security?
Yes! If you get hurt because a business failed to take the proper security measures, you could sue. These types of cases are called negligent security case, which are a type of premises liability case.
If you’ve been the victim of a crime, justice through the criminal law system is only one part of the solution. The other part involves compensating you for the harm you’ve suffered.
Negligent Security Settlements
A negligent security lawsuit can recover financial compensation for you to move forward with your life after experiencing a violent attack or crime. You could recover money either from a court judgment or a settlement agreement that’s negotiated out of court.
A negligent security lawsuit settlement can compensate you for:
- Present and future medical expenses and bills for the treatment you need to recover
- Mental health expenses for processing the trauma of the crime
- Present and future income you’ve lost as a result of being unable to work
- The cost of hiring live-in or long-term care if your injuries require it
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life
If a business acts in a way that’s especially reckless or dangerous, you could receive punitive damages, where the bad actor must pay more as punishment.
If someone you love has lost their life because of poor security, you could have a claim for wrongful death. In these cases, the victim’s survivors recover compensation for their loss.
The time within which you have to file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations, is different in each State. According to Florida’s statute of limitations, you have only 4 years from the date of the crime to file a negligent security claim against a property or business owner. In the case of wrongful death, you only have 2 years to file a claim. After that, you could lose your chance to hold the responsible parties accountable for your losses forever.
Call the the Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676 for your FREE consultation with a negligent security lawyer who can help.