Can you really sue the business for the criminal acts of a third person?
You can if the business did not follow proper safety standards and instead chose profits over the safety of its customers and tenants.
What Is a Negligent Security Claim?
Negligent Security claims are a type of premises liability claims.
Businesses like bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and apartment complexes have certain safety standards they need to follow to protect their patrons, guests, or residents.
Negligent security claims arise when these businesses fail to follow these safety standards and as a result a victim is hurt by a third party. Neglgient Security attorneys want to hold the business responsible for the injuries and pain suffered by the victim.
Let’s look at an example from a bar.
Example of a Negligent Security Claim:
A Bar is located in downtown St. Petersburg. This Bar is serves alcohol.. The bar let in more patrons than it has capacity to serve.
Five fights have broken out in the bar in the last five months. Yet the bar has refused to increase its security procedures. The bar refuses to train its staff with correct security procedures.
The bar serves a man multiple drinks. The man is drunk. The man yells. He is creating a scene. The Bar lets the man stay. The Bar has one security guard on duty. The waitress does not tell the one security guard. The security guard flirts with another patron.
A woman walks by the drunk man. The drunk man yells at other woman. The woman yells back at the drunk man.
The drunk man is angry. He starts shouting at the woman. The woman yells back. The drunk man rears back and punches the woman. Hard.The woman falls to the ground. The Bar’s security is nowhere to be found.
The woman is hurt. Badly. Her jaw is broken. Doctors will wire it shut. She will need multiple surgeries to correct the damage done.
The police arrested the drunk man. But he does not have two pennies to rub together. The woman’s medical bills are mounting. She can’t work. She sees a negligent security lawyer.
In this case, the lawyer would pursue a negligent security action against the bar. A bar patron did not directly strike the woman. But that’s not the point. The bar created the condition that was ripe for this horrible accident to occur. The Bar substantially profited from this situation in the form of alcohol sales. The Bar knew or should have know that this situation could happen as fights like this had broken out repeatedly in the months before. But the bar did nothing. The Bar refused to spend the money to upgrade security to protect its patrons.
Types of Cases a Negligence Security Attorney Handles in Florida:
Negligent security cases don’t just take place in bars. These case take place at:
- Bars & Restaurants
- College Campuses
- High School Campuses
- Shopping Malls
- Parking Lots
- Apartment Complexes
- Hotels and Motels
The types of negligent security includes acts like:
- Failing to background check employees for criminal records
- Negligent sale of alcohol
- Not enough security guards or staff
- Not training security guards or staff
- Failing to section off dangerous parts of a building
- Failing to warn of a property’s dangers
- Failing to limit access to the premises
- Lack of surveillance, like surveillance camera
- Inadequate or under trained staff
Proving a Negligent Security Case in Florida
The burden is on the Plaintiff’s Negligent Security Attorney to prove the following in Florida:
- The property owner or tenant had a duty to provide reasonable security measures for the premises. This means security, security camera, sufficient lighting, working locks, ect. In our bar example above we are looking for basic security standards that the Bar needed to apply to protect its patrons.
- The property owner or tenant violated the standards and thus violated the duty to plaintiff. As a result the plaintiff suffered harm.
- The plaintiff suffered harm or damage because of the incident. In our bar example the woman suffered a broken jaw that required multiple surgeries to correct. This element would be met.
Settlement in Negligent Security Claims in Florida
Fair and just Settlements in Negligent Security claims in Florida only come after filing a lawsuit and building a case.
Auto accident claims, by contrast, are many times settled before filing a lawsuit. That means the attorney in auto cases can often settle a claim by sending a demand letter and negotiating over the phone, all without filing a lawsuit.
But negligent security claims need to be built through aggressive and thorough lawyering after filing suit before any reasonable resolution can be obtained. This is because:
- The premises liability lawyer needs to discover the “story” as to why the company is responsible for the actions of a third party. What safety codes or standard did the company violate that led to this tragedy? Should the company have known this sort of action could happen?
The attorney needs to find out and speak to the employees that were working on the day of the accident. Discover if security was done in house or subcontracted out to a another company. Discover the operations and practices of the company itself. The company of course must be forced to give up this information, Therefore a lawsuit will be filed before settlement.
- The injuries are often more serious in a negligent security case: Negligent security cases usually have more serious injuries then soft tissue. We have handled cases with broken bones that require surgery, permanent disability cases, rape cases, and even death.
Because the injuries are high the value of a fair settlement is also high. In a rape, permanent disability, or death case a fair resolution may very well be in the millions (or tens of millions) of dollars. Expect to file suit in these cases and realize you may very well end up in trial because so much is on the line for the company and its corresponding insurance company.
- The coverage policies are high: Because the potential injuries are traumatic, big companies, bars, restaurants, and apartment complexes often have millions of dollars in insurance coverage available. Again, there is a lot on the line for the company being sued, so much so they are willing to go to battle in litigation and trial.
If you have been injured in a negligent security action don’t be intimidated by the fact that there will be litigation! Just recognize that you’ll need a negligent security attorney who is a trial attorney, not a big firm settlement attorney. The stakes are too high. Fair value in negligent security cases requires trial premises liability attorneys and firms able to do the work.
What Does a Tampa, Florida Negligent Security Attorney Do?
When building a case the attorney will:
- Interview fact witnesses who witnessed the incident. This includes friends of the victims.
- Interview the investigating officers and get any reports.
- Interview any lower level employees who work for the company where the negligent security action happened
- Work with the injured person’s doctors and treatment providers to make sure the proper treatment is available.
- Hire an expert or team of experts on the appropriate safety security standards for a company like the defendant in the case. For example if the incident happened in a bar then the negligent security attorney will want a security expert comfortable with bar security. If it was at an apartment complex, then we need an expert comfortable with apartment complexes.
- File a lawsuit and begin the discovery process, Remember, in these cases if the neglgient security lawyer is taking the negligent security case it is almost always best practice to file the lawsuit immediately.
- Send a spoliation letter to the company commanding them to not destroy any evidence related to the incident.
- Begin the discovery process of the company defendant. This usually means requesting documents including 1. A list of all employees and management working on the day in question, 2. All security operations manuals, procedures, 3. All training manuals, 4. Emails related to the incident and to security, 5. All incident reports for this incident, 6. All incident reports of past similar incidents.
- Set depositions of the employees of the company and the company representative itself to get answers needed.
- Take the deposition of the person who actually committed the crime. Represent our victim in the criminal court when the person who caused the crime goes to court.
- Prepare our client or their deposition. The other side will get a chance to interview under oath our client.
- Prepare for and attend mediation and otherwise try to settle the matter,
- Finally, the negligent security attorney will go to trial and ask a jury for justice if the case cannot be settled.