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Seminario de Seguridad Negligente | Marzo 2015>

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    Don’t Bank on ATMs Being as Safe as You Think They May Be

    Offering a convenient way to withdraw cash, check your bank account balance, deposit checks and more, ATMs (automated teller machines) have become an integral tool in modern banking. Given their prevalence, most people do not think twice about using an ATM. However, there are many serious safety risks associated with ATMs, ranging from identity theft through the use of skimming devices to the threat of robbery, assault, or even murder. In fact, a recent Bank Crime Statistics report from the FBI indicates that thefts at ATMs have surged in the past few years, with 254 incidents in 2021.

    Since it’s well-known that the ready availability of cash can make ATMs a target for criminal activity, banks and other properties that host these machines have a duty to implement reasonable safety measures, such as adequate lighting, cameras, alarms, and guards. If these measures are lacking and someone becomes a victim of violent crime while using the ATM, the property owners may be liable for negligent security. Therefore, if you have suffered a violent crime at or near an ATM, here are a few crucial steps to take:

    • Call 911. As with any other situation where your life or property has been threatened, one of the first steps is to call 911 as soon as you can safely do so. This will not only ensure that you receive prompt medical attention if needed, but it will also create a police report of the incident.
    • If your ATM/credit cards or checks were stolen, contact your bank to have them canceled as soon as possible. In addition, contact all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and ask them to add a fraud alert to your report in order to help safeguard against identity theft. You’ll also want to monitor your accounts and notify the authorities of the time, date, and location of any suspicious activity.
    • Contact an attorney with experience handling negligent security cases. As mentioned above, banks and other facilities with ATMs may be held liable for a third party’s violent crimes if they failed to implement reasonable security measures to deter foreseeable criminal activity. The key to successfully navigating a negligent security lawsuit is to work with an experienced attorney—particularly in light of changes under Florida’s recently enacted HB 837 law, which may require juries to take into account the criminal perpetrator’s share of responsibility in these types of cases.

    At Leighton Panoff Law, our team regularly handles negligent security cases involving banks, ATMs, and many other commercial properties throughout Florida. With over 37 years of experience, Attorney John Leighton is a nationally recognized expert in the field of violent crime and negligent security litigation and is the author of Litigating Premises Security Cases, a two-volume textbook used by lawyers across the country. We have represented many people who have suffered injuries while using ATMs, and Mr. Leighton won a $24 million verdict for the family of a man shot while withdrawing cash from one.  In another of our cases, a man was shot and paralyzed while using an ATM. Mr. Leighton obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for the man.  Mr. Leighton is the Immediate Past President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and is often asked to address lawyers around the country on how to handle these cases and discuss trial and litigation strategies on negligent security, violent crime and sex abuse cases.  He has been brought in by lawyers in many states to handle their security cases, including those in Georgia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas.  To schedule a consultation, call us today at 888.988.1774.


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