Property owners, under premises liability law, must repair dangerous conditions or warn visitors who might not realize there is a hazard. Dangerous conditions include those that could produce an accident like potholes and spilled liquid, but they can also place visitors at risk of a criminal attack, like being robbed or assault in dark stairwells and parking lots.
You may have noticed a sign on the door of a convenience store stating there is only $50 in the cash drawer or security cameras outside certain establishments. These are measures the property owner has taken to ensure patrons do not become crime victims. If you are victimized on someone else’s property, a Eustis negligent security lawyer might be able to hold that property owner responsible for your financial, physical, and emotional losses.
Like classic negligence cases, a plaintiff must prove certain elements to prevail in a negligent security claim. An injured party must have been visiting the property lawfully, such as a restaurant patron or retail store customer. Property owners have no duty to adult trespassers other than to not intentionally try to harm them.
Plaintiffs must prove the property owner did not employ adequate safety measures. Maintenance and personnel records, cell phone photos, and witness testimony can be used to prove this element, including that security cameras were not working or the convenience store owner scheduled only one clerk to work at night in a high crime area. Some common safety measures include:
Not all of the above safety measures are necessary for all situations. Consult a Eustis negligent security attorney to discuss pursuing a particular case.
Plaintiffs must also show that the property owner knew the criminal activity would likely occur. This element is tricky because it would be impossible for owners to prevent all criminal activity. Some crimes are random and some are meticulously planned.
A Eustis negligent security lawyer could check police reports to determine if similar crimes have occurred on the property or nearby. If the property owner filed insurance claims in the past, they could be good evidence the owner knew criminal activity was likely. If safety measures are inadequate to deter crime in the area, and the plaintiff was injured in a crime on the premises, the elements are met.
If a plaintiff’s attorney proves the elements of negligent security, they could secure compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation, lost present and future wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Injured plaintiffs have a limited time to file negligence lawsuits. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11, an action against a property owner for negligent security must be filed within four years of the event. Failure to file will likely preclude the plaintiff from filing in the future.
Although there are exceptions, they are limited. Civil actions follow strict filing deadlines as a case moves to trial and it is best to rely on an experienced attorney to meet them.
When you shop at the mall, refill at a gas station, or visit a friend at an apartment complex, the last thing you expect is to be the victim of a crime. But they can happen if a criminal takes the opportunity in an unlit parking lot or a convenience store with broken surveillance cameras.
If you are assaulted, it may seem counterintuitive to sue the property owner instead of the perpetrator, but property owners have a duty to you to provide safe premises. When they do not, you may have a claim. Contact a Eustis negligent security lawyer to discuss your case and what we can do for you.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys