In some cases, a crime is preventable, but negligent or inadequate security allows criminals to take advantage of negligent property conditions and puts guests at a property at risk. If you are the victim or survivor of a crime, you may be able to hold the property owner responsible for your damages if the property did not have adequate security measures in place.
What is Negligent Security?
In inadequate security claims, a crime victim/survivor can assert that a property owner, business establishment, security company, or transportation service (i.e. bus, train, cruise ship, etc.) was negligent and failed to take reasonable precautions and enact security standards that protect others from violent acts. Property owners owe a duty of care to provide adequate security measures to people they invite onto their property. Property owners (of residential and commercial property) should have basic security measures in place, such as:
- Functional locks on exterior doors and/or rooms
- Restricted access
- Security alarms and/or cameras
- Proper lighting (in stairways, halls, parking lots, etc.)
- Security guards
- Fencing or gates
If needed security devices or adequate security measures are not in place, victims/survivors of crimes may have grounds for a civil liability case. Someone may file an inadequate security claim after being physically, emotionally, or psychologically injured after an assault, rape, shooting, stabbing, robbery, abduction, or another crime.
After being injured due to the negligent security standards, someone may file a negligent security lawsuit as:
- A tenant who was hurt at their apartment complex or condominium building
- A resident who was hurt in their dormitory or assisted living facility
- A guest who was hurt at a hotel or resort
- A customer who was hurt at a convenience store, bar, movie theater, or package store
- A ticketholder who was hurt at a concert, casino, or amusement park
- A patient or employee who was hurt at a clinic, drug treatment center, or hospital
- A parent of a child hurt while at their daycare center or school
- A passenger who was hurt on a train, cruise ship, or at the subway station
- An employee who was hurt at a construction site, office building, or casino
Convenience Store Security Regulations
Because they are often the site of robberies and other violent crimes, convenience stores have special provisions concerning security measures to which they must adhere. If a convenience store adheres to these regulations, they are protected from civil liability related to criminal acts committed by people who are not employees, the owner, or the operator of the business (Florida Statute § 768.0705).
Under Florida Statute § 812.173, conveniences stores must have the following security devices and standards.
- A working security camera system that can record and retrieve images
- A cash management device or drop safe for restricted access to cash receipts
- A well-lit parking lot that is “illuminated at an intensity of at least 2 foot-candles per square foot at 18 inches above the surface”
- A notice at the building entrance asserting that the cash registers only have $50 (or less)
- An unobstructed view from outside and in a normal line of sight of any registers and/or sales transaction areas provided by window signage
- A cash management policy that limits the amount of cash on hand during store hours after 11 p.m.
- Height markers at the entrance
- Mandatory training for employees concerning security measures and guidelines
Additionally, convenience stores are not allowed to have tinted windows that reduce the exterior or interior line of sight. They must also have a silent alarm (unless they file for and receive an exemption).
An Example of Negligent Security
In July 2020, there was a fatal shooting at The Lani Kai Resort. A personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit were filed against the hotel. The suits claimed that:
- The resort should have known about their insufficient security measures.
- The resort had a history of being a site for criminal activity.
The suits were settled out of court, and the resort has instituted new security measures. Their new security measures include changing their key card system to wrist fob entry, requiring security training certification, requiring background checks for all employees, and creating a wristband system for guests.
Proving Inadequate Security Measures
In Florida negligent security suits, it must be proven that:
- The victim/survivor was on the premises lawfully.
- The property did not have adequate security measures.
- The property owner or staff should have reasonably foreseen that their guest may suffer from criminal activity.
- The victim/survivor suffered damages.
While property owners and operators cannot and do not have a duty to stop criminal acts, they should be able to anticipate and take steps to prevent criminal activity on their property (foreseeability). If other criminal offenses or the same criminal offense has occurred multiple times, a property owner should strengthen their security in response. For instance, if people are often mugged on the premises, they should consider improving the lighting on their property.
Evidence concerning foreseeability includes but is not limited to:
- Insurance claims made by the property or establishment owner concerning past criminal acts
- Police or medical reports from other victims/survivors of crimes committed on the premises
- Online posts (from social media or review websites) that include comments or photos about criminal activity or the property’s lack of security
Other evidence you may need to establish that there was negligence and inadequate security include witness statements, photographs, or videos/camera footage (from someone’s device).
Is There a Statute of Limitation for Negligent Security Claims?
A statute of limitations is the law that outlines the time limit imposed on people concerning how long they have to initiate a lawsuit. In Florida, you have four years from the date of injury to bring a negligent security claim forward, which is why you should reach out to our attorneys as soon as possible.
Get Legal Help
At Hubbs Law Firm, our inadequate security lawyers are equipped to help you fight for your right to receive fair compensation. If you are the victim/survivor of a crime caused by a business’s negligent security, our team is here to help you:
- Determine if you are eligible for compensation
- Calculate the damages you may be owed
- Investigate and collect evidence to substantiate your claim
- Understand your legal options
Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation via phone (305) 376-7178 or online. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we won’t charge you unless we help you collect a judgment or settlement offer.