Have you been hurt because of an intentional act that occurred on someone else’s property? You may receive financial compensation.
Contact the negligent security attorneys in Coral Gables at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC to discuss your situation and start your case.
What is negligent security?
Negligent security is the legal liability that property owners may have for failing to prevent intentional acts of harm on their property.
Property owners have a duty to provide adequate security for their property. If an intentional act occurs – like an assault or battery, robbery, or gun violence – the property owner may have liability.
The person who commits the intentional act is liable for their actions. In addition, the property owner may be liable, too. They have a duty to provide security when harmful acts are reasonably foreseeable. A property owner who fails to prevent reasonably foreseeable, intentional acts of others may be responsible for negligent security.
Lawyers Handling Negligent Security Cases
Maderal Byrne & Furst is a team of experienced attorneys handling negligent security cases. We are trial lawyers and former prosecutors. We believe that each person deserves legal representation with the same skill and resources as the large corporations that you are up against.
We have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. From our home offices in Coral Gables, we represent people throughout Florida.
If you have been the victim of crime on someone else’s property, we invite you to talk with us. We value the time talking with prospective clients. Let us discuss whether negligent security is a possibility in your case and how our legal representation may assist you.
Understanding Negligent Security
If you are the victim of:
- Assault with a dangerous weapon
- Gun violence
- Robbery causing injury
- Sexual assault
- Other acts of violence
the property owner may have legal fault. Of course, the offender may be criminally and civilly liable.
However, you may have the right to seek compensation from the property owner, too. If the kind of intentional harm that happened to you was reasonably foreseeable, they should have taken steps to prevent it.
The legal standard for liability is whether the injury was reasonably foreseeable or within the zone of risk. (McCaine v. Florida Power Corp., 593 So.2d 500 (1992). The degree of foreseeability is the key factor. It’s a question of the likelihood that the defendant’s actions will result in the type of injury suffered by the plaintiff.
Common places where negligent security may occur are:
- Concert venues
- Sports stadiums
- Retail establishments, including parking lots
- Malls, office buildings
- Movie theaters
- Amusement parks
- Hotels, motels, and hostels
- Convenience stores, gas stations
- Restaurants, bars, and taverns
- Tourist attractions
- Apartment complexes and multifamily properties
- Government buildings and parks
- Transportation centers
- Schools, colleges, and universities
Negligent security can exist in many types of businesses and properties. What makes security adequate is specific to the situation and the foreseeable risks that come with the property’s use.
To be liable, the defendant must be in active or constructive control of the instrumentality used, the premises, or the criminal. Michael v. Philip Inc. v. Sierra, 776 So. 2d 294 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2000).
What kind of security should a property owner provide?
Some types of security that may be appropriate on the property are:
- Lighting in the parking lot
- Identification badges that limit access to the premises
- Security guards
- Guard stations at entrance points
- Camera monitoring
- Ensuring that doors and locks are functioning, making sure doors are closed
- Procedures to secure the property during business hours
- Fencing or restricted access
- Training for employees on security procedures
- Check-in procedures for guests, a record of visitors
A significant question is what happened on the property leading up to the injury to the victim. It’s appropriate to evaluate whether the same type of injury or harm occurred before, such that the same result may happen again.
For example, if there is a history of assault and battery on the premises, additional protocols may have been necessary. When we represent you, our lawyers can gather the evidence to identify previous incidents and prove that what happened to you was foreseeable.
Negligent security lawsuits against multifamily residential properties
Following the signing of HB 837/SB 236 into law in March 2023, Florida now has a presumption against liability for owners and operators of apartments, townhouses, and condominiums with five or more dwelling units.
If a criminal third-party actor injures an individual who is lawfully on the property, the owner or operator has the burden of proof of demonstrating substantial implementation of specific security measures, including:
- Security cameras facing entry and exit points with at least 30 days of retrievable footage
- Lights on from dusk-to-dawn in parking lots, walkways, common areas, laundry rooms, and porches
- Deadbolts at least one-inch on unit doors
- Lockable windows, exterior sliding doors, and all other doors not used for community purposes
- Locked gates with key or fob access for fenced pool areas
- Peepholes or door viewers for unit doors without a window next to the door
By January 1st, 2025, the multifamily residential property must also demonstrate substantial compliance with a crime prevention through environmental design assessment, and provide proper crime deterrence and safety training for its employees.
The law effectively reduces financial liability of property owners and operators in the event of a violent crime. In exchange, juries must now consider the fault of every individual who contributed to a person’s injuries.
Negligent Security FAQs
What is the statute of limitations for negligent security in Florida?
As of March 2023, a victim must file a negligent security claim within two years in the State of Florida. This is the result of HB 837/SB 236 affecting all tort claims in the State. If the action is for wrongful death, the time limit is also two years.
Who may be responsible for negligent security?
Any party who is responsible for the maintenance of property may be responsible for negligent security. Usually, it’s the property owner or a tenant. A property management company or security contractor may also be responsible for negligent security.
What responsibilities do convenience stores have to provide security in Florida?
Florida Statutes § 812.173 creates minimum security standards for convenience businesses in Florida. A convenience store must have a security camera that can retrieve images, restricted access to cash, sufficient light in the parking lot, notice that the cash register has $50 or less, a clear view between the cash register and the outside, and limited cash on hand during late hours. Tinted windows are not allowed if they reduce the normal line of sight.
In addition, Florida Statutes § 812.174 requires property owners to train employees in robbery deterrence and safety training. The training curriculum must be approved by the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. The convenience store has 60 days to provide training to new employees.
Free Consultation for Injuries Related to Negligent Security
We invite you to talk to a Coral Gables negligent security attorney today. From our home offices in Coral Gables and throughout Florida, at Maderal Byrne & Furst, we represent individuals who have been harmed by others. If you have been hurt by an intentional act on someone else’s property, we may assist you in a claim for financial compensation.
Begin now with a free consultation. See what your case may be worth, and start today. Contact us now.