What Is Negligent Security?
When a person is injured on another person’s premises or in their home, they may be able to bring suit against that person under a theory called premises liability. If a person is injured due to a third party’s actions (for example, if they are the victim of a crime), they may choose to bring suit against the landowner or business owner under a theory called negligent security. If this has happened to you, it can be difficult to figure out what to do, especially while trying to recover from the trauma of being the victim of a crime. An experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference.
“Knew, Or Should Have Known”
Though there are exceptions, most crime victims do not file civil suits against the person who harmed them, for many reasons – most often, the criminal either is never located, or if they are, they are often judgment proof (that is, they do not have enough assets to cover any judgment a court would hand down against them). However, if you are in the situation where you were attacked on someone else’s property, you may choose to file suit against the property owner (or the owner of the business on the property), if you believe that they should have been aware of the potential for danger on their premises. Generally, a person has no legal duty to prevent a third party from causing harm. However, there are exceptions.
Generally, Florida jurisprudence holds that a property owner can be held liable for negligent security if (1) they owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff, as most property owners do owe to their customers/patrons; (2) they either knew or should have known that a crime like this was possible – often, this means pointing to other, similar crime reports in the area; and (3) they failed to take any measures to improve security. No one can predict everything, obviously, but Florida law tries to interpret actions using a ‘reasonable person’ standard – if a reasonable person would have taken steps to improve security, and the defendant in your case did not, you may have a good case to allege liability.
Duty And Foreseeability
In order to establish that the landowner or business owner should be liable for negligent security, you need to be able to establish certain points to the court. An injured plaintiff must establish that:
- A duty of care existed on the part of the defendant toward the plaintiff. Most businesses owe at least some duty of care toward their customers or patrons;
- That duty was breached by the defendant or someone in their employ;
- That breach of duty was the direct cause of any injury you suffered; and
- You actually suffered damages (not necessarily physical in nature).
In addition to these points, you must also be able to show that a reasonable person might have anticipated the potential danger. Most types of negligence lawsuits revolve around a legal concept called foreseeability. If a crime or accident is not foreseeable, no one can be held accountable for its happening. If an injured customer or patron can establish that the harm they experienced was foreseeable, in addition to the other four points required, they may have a good chance to establish that the property owner should be liable.
Call A Tampa Negligent Security Attorney
A business owner’s negligence toward security can lead to serious trauma and life changes for a hapless customer. If you have been attacked by a third party on someone else’s property, contacting a Tampa negligent security attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can be the first step toward getting the compensation that you and your family need to get back on your feet. Contact us today for a free consultation.