What is Negligent Security?
Unlike the days of yesterday, when you probably knew the shop owners in your town, today we shop in super stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. Mega stores mean mega parking lots and more opportunity for crime.
Criminals know to target patrons in the parking lot and often get away with it. You hear the stories around Christmas time, but purse snatchings are common in superstore parking lots any time of the year. So are muggings, shootings, carjacking, and assaults.
The owner or landlord of the property has a duty to its patrons to maintain the property in reasonable condition, to keep it lighted, supervised, and free of criminals. The owner also has a responsibility to keep the parking lot in reasonable condition, free of pot holes, sink holes, falling fences, free of debris and any hazards. This applies whether the property surrounds a mega store, an apartment complex, or a public gathering spot.
To fail to do so is negligent.
Premises liability results when injuries occur on the property grounds that would have been unlikely if proper security had been present.
If there is a potential for dangerous conditions to exist, at the very least, the property owner is required to warn the invitee of any perils. Unless a person is trespassing, they can expect the property owner or landlord is liable for any injuries that occur that are preventable. Even if the landlord or owner didn’t know about the hazard, they may still be liable, except to trespassers.
Florida Negligent Security Lawsuits
Negligent security lawsuits are filed when a person is injured on a commercial property and holds the owner responsible. This can include a shooting, a mugging, rape, being hit on the head by falling debris, tripping, and falling among other things.
Under Florida law, if the owner or landlord of the property knew or should have known about the potential for a violent crime or injury to occur on-site, you may hold the owner or landlord of that property liable for your injuries. For example, if a landlord had prior knowledge that someone had been mugged on the property, that could constitute notice and increases the chance that you may be able to recover damages for your injury. Even if the owner or landlord showed reasonable care, he or she could still be held liable.
Remember, a business owner has a higher duty of care to his customers than a home owner.
A Premises Liability Standard of Care
Landlords and property owners are required to:
- Perform checks on employees, especially those who come in direct contact with customers or tenants
- Properly screen new tenants
- Inform tenants about any criminal activity in or near the property
- Establish and then follow security procedures
- Establish security patrols
- Ensure the property is adequately lighted, fenced, has limited access at entrances and exits, requires an identification system, requires an alarm system and/or closed circuit monitoring
Any advertising that promises enhanced security is required to live up to that promise. If a landlord or property owner fails to do so, the plaintiffs in a premises liability case may also be able to show reckless disregard of a known danger and find gross misconduct, which could lead to additional punitive damage awards.
Jacksonville Negligent Security Lawyers at Farah & Farah Offer Free Consultations
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to negligent security in Jacksonville, please contact a Florida premises liability attorney at Farah & Farah immediately.