Defining Negligent Security In Florida Law
If you are injured on your own premises, very often you will only have yourself to blame. If you are injured on another person’s property, however, you may be able to hold the owner or operator liable, depending on the nature of your injuries. A negligent security claim may develop if you were injured in an area without sufficient safety measures. Such a claim can be difficult to prevail upon because of its subjective nature, but it can be done with the right attorney on your side.
Negligent Security vs Premises Liability
A negligent security claim has a lot of similarities to another type of Florida lawsuit referred to as a premises liability case. In both situations, an injured plaintiff can file a lawsuit against the landowner or property owner on whose premises they were hurt. However, in a premises liability case, you are filing suit over alleged direct negligence on the part of the owner. A negligent security claim comes about when the property owner’s negligence in maintaining security leads to an injury inflicted by a third party (almost always a criminal).
While property owners cannot prevent every type of crime, they have an obligation to do their best to prevent reasonably foreseeable crime happening on their premises. (Foreseeability is a highly subjective concept that will differ from case to case, but it will always play a role in this type of legal matter.) Property and business owners have a general legal duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their visitors and customers. Allowing crime to occur on their premises due to a lack of adequate security breaches that duty and creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence.
Four Criteria To Prevail
If you believe you have a viable negligent security claim, one thing that may stop you from filing is if the criminal who attacked you is caught and tried. Too many people labor under the misapprehension that trying the same person in a criminal court and a civil court triggers one’s Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. However, since the criminal and civil court systems in the U.S. are entirely separate, the Fifth Amendment is not triggered. You may file your civil suit, though it may be placed on the docket at a time after the criminal trial is concluded.
In order to prevail in a civil suit for negligent security, four criteria must be established to the satisfaction of the court. They are:
- You must have been lawfully on the premises;
- The premises lacked reasonable security measures;
- The property owner was able to “reasonably foresee” criminal activity like what you went through; and
- You actually experienced harm as a result.
Some of these facts can be more difficult to prove than others, but with the right help on your side, you will be able to establish a reasonable likelihood of foreseeability, which may allow you to prevail in court.
Call A Tampa Negligent Security Attorney
Given the subjectivity of these claims, it can be a long, drawn-out process to try and establish that you were the victim of negligent security. The Rinaldo Law Group has handled many of these types of cases, and can offer experienced and knowledgeable representation as we attempt to help you with yours. Contact a Tampa negligent security attorney at our offices today for a free consultation.