Talk to Us Latest News

Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers

talk to an attorney 888.988.1774

Key Elements of a Successful Negligent Security Case

When a customer or other visitor to a commercial property—such as a retail business, restaurant, apartment complex, hotel, mall, parking garage, or office—becomes the victim of a crime, the perpetrator might not be the only culpable party. If the crime resulted from a lack of adequate security measures on the premises, the property owner or manager may be liable in a civil suit for negligent security.

Based on the theory that businesses are in a better position than visitors to know about any potential dangers that may threaten their properties, Florida law imposes a duty on business owners to take reasonable steps to prevent crime and keep customers, guests, residents, and other invitees safe. A subcategory of premises liability law, negligent security claims seek recovery for injuries and losses resulting from criminal assaults (including sexual assaults), robberies, and other attacks. However, it is not sufficient to show that the crime occurred at a commercial property. Plaintiffs must also prove the following elements to succeed in a negligent security case:

  • The defendant business had a duty to provide adequate security on the premises. Generally, Florida’s premises liability laws require businesses to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition and to warn customers of potential hazards that are out of their control. The measures that should be taken vary based on the type and location of the business, but may include proper lighting, security cameras, alarms, guards, limited access, a reasonably safe design of the premises, or signs warning of potential dangers. Acknowledging that no property can be guaranteed safe and some third-party crimes are not preventable, the law simply requires businesses to use reasonable care in preventing foreseeable acts. Therefore, the strength of a plaintiff’s case hinges on whether the business was aware of the danger or could have reasonably foreseen it.
  • The defendant failed to provide adequate security measures. If the crime was reasonably foreseeable and the business still failed to take reasonable steps to deter it, the business may be liable for their failure to provide reasonable security.
  • The plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to provide adequate security. All negligence cases require the plaintiff to establish that their harm was caused by the defendant’s actions, but negligent security cases are more complex because a third-party criminal is the direct cause of the injury. Plaintiffs must show that the crime likely would not have occurred if proper security measures had been in place on the property.

Since many negligent security cases require a thorough investigation, they are often time-consuming and expensive to litigate. When successful, however, these types of cases may yield substantial compensation for victims and create incentives for businesses to provide safer environments for their customers. It’s one of the clearest ways that our civil justice system actually works to improve safety in society.

 

At Leighton Law, we are experts in negligent security litigation. With more than 35 years of experience in this field, attorney John Leighton is the author of Litigating Premises Security Cases, a two-volume textbook used by lawyers nationwide on how to investigate and litigate cases involving negligent security. Mr. Leighton frequently lectures on the topic and is consulted by lawyers across the country for assistance with negligent security cases. Mr. Leighton serves as the President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and Chairman of the American Association for Justice Inadequate Security Litigation Group. Visit https://leightonlaw.com/negligent-security-attorney/ to learn more, or call us today at 888.988.1774! 

LET’S GET STARTED