Negligent security claims are a type of premises liability claim. These claims can arise if a person is injured on someone’s property because of inadequate security measures. Many of these claims arise after a person is a victim/survivor of a crime while they are on someone else’s property, and the crime/damages were avoidable had the property not been negligent in setting up their security. It is important to note that, as with all premises liability cases, you can only bring a claim forward if you were on the property legally and with the permission of the owner.
A claim may arise from an incident that occurred at any type of establishment. You may file a claim after being injured in a crime that happened at a:
- Apartment building
- Bar or nightclub
- Even venue (i.e. conference center, stadium, concert hall, theater, etc.)
- Government property
- Hotel, motel, or Airbnb
- Mall or boutique shop
- Office building or warehouse
- Parking lot or garage
- School or university
- Any public venue
Establishing Liability in Negligent Security Claims
Depending on the circumstances of your case, different parties may be held liable for inadequate security. These parties include the:
- State or local government office
- Security company
- Property owner
- Property management company
- Parking lot management facility
As with other personal injury cases, you will need to prove the following four elements of negligence.
- Duty of care. You must establish that you were on the premises lawfully and that the property owner (or liable party) had a duty to ensure that there were adequate security measures on the property.
- Deviation (or dereliction) from duty. You must prove that the property lacked adequate security and that the property owner or staff should have reasonably foreseen that their guest may suffer from criminal activity. Foreseeability does not mean that the property owner has a duty to prevent any and all criminal acts but that they should be able to anticipate whether a crime may be committed and take steps to prevent such activity/strengthen their security measures. For example, if a robbery has occurred previously on their property, they should consider investing in better locks or alarm systems.
- Damages. The victim/survivor suffered damages because of the criminal activity/assault
- Direct cause. The victim/survivor’s damages are the direct result of the deviation from the liable party’s duty of care.
To establish liability and prove these elements, you may submit the following evidence.
- Crime reports or insurance claims
- Police or medical records
- Social media posts
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Video/camera footage
- Information concerning other property’s security measures (who are in a similar area)
Examples of Negligent Security Cases
As we mentioned, you may file an inadequate security lawsuit after being injured due to poor security standards at any number of locations. Here are some examples of such cases:
- A physical assault while dancing at a nightclub that doesn’t employ security guards nor trains their employees on security procedures
- A robbery at a hotel with poor security measures
- A sexual assault while staying at a hotel or motel that didn’t have security cameras or quality locks
- A shooting while at an indoor or outdoor concert that failed to have adequate security checks
- A stabbing while traveling via the SunRail, LYNX bus service, or another mode of public transportation in an unlit, unmonitored area
- An assault by a nursing home resident with a history of violence at a care facility
- An assault while paying for gas at a local gas station that doesn’t adhere to the state requirements (see Florida Statute § 812.173 and § 768.0705)
Real-life examples of negligent security claims include:
- DeAngelo Tillie vs. Camelot Gardens Apartments. In 2017, DeAngelo Tillie was fatally shot in his apartment unit at the then Camelot Gardens Apartments. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit and alleged that the complex had inadequate security. The complex apparently had a history of prior crimes (i.e. several violent crimes going all the way back to 2008 including 10 prior shootings), and the lawsuit claimed that the owners and management company did nothing to improve the safety of the property. This month, the owner agreed to settle with the family for $3.6 million.
- South Florida man vs. gas station. A family was awarded $5.45 million for their pain and suffering as well as $252,982 for their economic damages (i.e. final expenses, loss of financial support, etc.) in a claim against a South Florida gas station/car wash. The decedent was an employee on the property and was working with another person at the car wash attached to the gas station. While working, the decedent and his coworker were attacked by three men who were attempting to rob the car wash/gas station. During the trial, it was proven that the property’s surveillance cameras were not working and hadn’t been for two years, and there were four other crimes committed at the station that new employees were not made aware of. The station manager also only came to the property with an armed guard and had her husband bring her to work every day.
- Simms vs. Prime Hospitality Hotels (1997). While staying as a guest at Prime Hospitality hotel, Ms. Simms was forced into her room, held at gunpoint, and raped by a man who hung around the hotel common area near her room. Simms filed a negligent security suit against the hotel as her lawyer discovered that 56 crimes had occurred at the hotel within the last three years. While the hotel tried to blame Simms for going to her room when she knew a man was loitering nearby, the jury sided with Simms and awarded her $400,000 in damages.
Considering Filing a Negligent Security Lawsuit? Consult with Our Attorney.
At The Wiseman Law Firm, our attorney has over two decades of legal experience, and our firm is committed to helping clients fight for their right to fair compensation. In Florida, claimants only have four years from the date of injury to bring an inadequate security claim forward. If you are filing a wrongful death suit, however, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death in most cases. Thus, the sooner you contact us the better.
Once you retain our services, we can help you develop a solid case strategy and:
- Investigate the circumstances of the inciting incident
- Establish liability
- Collect evidence
- Calculate your non-economic and economic damages
- Handle the case legalities
To schedule a case consultation, contact our firm online or call (407) 708-9127 today. We look forward to your call.