Negligent Security: When the Guilty Party is More Obvious Than You Think
More often these days, you see signs posted in parking garages reminding you to lock your vehicles and hide your valuables from plain sight. While this may seem like an obvious reminder, the signs are actually in place to help businesses avoid being accused of negligence. If a business is located in what's considered a rough spot of town, or if the location is simply poorly lit or not very populated, then it holds some responsibility to warn or protect its patrons of anticipated dangers. In other words, businesses and employers are expected to provide a certain level of security. Otherwise, if anyone suffers from some kind of attack or is the victim of a robbery, the business itself can be held accountable for negligent security.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is when a business owner fails to provide a certain level of security, and that lack of security results in the property damage, theft, harm, or death of another person. If you are the victim of negligent security, you simply need to be able to prove the following:
- The property owner had a responsibility to provide some kind of protection against foreseeable danger, like adequate lighting for a particularly dim area.
- The injury was caused by a lack of security cameras or guards.
- You suffered serious damage or loss from a third-party attack on the premises of a business.
Examples of Negligent Security
In 2015, a gated community in Florida was found partially responsible for a double murder that happened on its property because the main gate was broken at the time of the crime. The company hired to fix the gate was also partially responsible for failing to repair the gate in a timely manner because it left a breach in the community's security. The whole point of living in a gated community is to benefit from the security offered by that gate. When that security is threatened, someone has to pay that very serious price.
Common examples of negligent security include:
- Poorly lit parking lots
- Dim staircases
- Security guards who fail to respond
- Broken locks or gates
- Shared entrances left open
- Double-booked hotel rooms
- Non-functioning security cameras/alarm systems
- Broken elevators
- Gaps in fences
- Failing to follow specified security procedures
What are Florida's Laws Regarding Negligent Security?
When it comes to negligent law, Florida does have its own specifications. For example, convenient stores seem to pose enough of a negligent security threat to push Florida to enforce a set of statutes specifically for convenience business security. The 2019 Florida Statutes require specific things from convenient stores that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A properly lit parking lot
- Height markers near the entrance
- Working security cameras
- A drop safe device for cash receipts
- At least 2 employees present during overnight hours
- A policy that limits the amount of cash kept on hand after 11 PM
The emphasis on convenient store security is a great example to support the argument that negligent security is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. While you might be attacked by a third-party, it only requires some attention to detail and careful analysis to discover your attack may have been possible due to faulty security or from a lack thereof.
What is Foreseeability and Proximate Cause?
When it comes to negligent security cases, there needs to be a large degree of foreseeability. Foreseeability means a certain action would understandably cause a certain injury or consequence. This component is necessary to recover damages in a case. Proximate cause is the specific thing that happened to cause the injury or consequence. The stronger the connection between foreseeability and the proximate cause, the better your chances of getting compensation for your trouble.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help My Negligent Security Case?
Yes, you do need a lawyer to help you with this kind of case because it requires attention to detail that a trained professional has already mastered. A trusted lawyer will be able to listen to your experience, compare it to the scene of the situation, and spot connections that could prove a lack in security. If you are attacked by a third-party, you may be surprised to find out that your injury or property loss could actually be the responsibility of the gas station, daycare, hotel, shopping mall, or theme park that you were attending. In addition, a lawyer is aware of various laws that are already in place and on your side. As soon as the event takes place, contact a lawyer immediately to record as many details as you can while they are fresh on your mind. Give us a call today at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh to set up a free strategy session to discuss your needs. We are ready and waiting to help you determine who is truly at fault for your experience.