Can you really sue a big business for the criminal acts of a third party? You can if the business did not follow proper safety standards. A Tampa negligent security attorney regularly holds businesses responsible for choosing money over the safety of their customers.
What is a Negligent Security Claim?
Negligent security claims are a type of premises liability claim.
Businesses like bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and apartment complexes have certain safety standards they must follow to protect patrons, guests, or residents.
Negligent security claims arise when these businesses fail to follow these safety standards, and someone is hurt by a third party as a result. Tampa negligent security attorneys fight to hold the business (aka the defendant) responsible for the injuries and pain suffered by the victim (aka the plaintiff).
Example of a Negligent Security Claim
A bar in downtown Tampa lets in more patrons than it has the capacity to serve.
Five fights have broken out in the bar in the last five months. Yet the bar refuses to train its staff in security procedures.
The bar serves a man multiple alcoholic drinks, and the man gets drunk. He yells and creates a scene, but the bar lets him stay.
The bar has one security guard on duty, but the waitress does not tell that one security guard. Instead of paying attention to his duties, the security guard is busy flirting with a customer.
A woman walks by the drunk man. The drunk man yells at her, and she yells back. They continue yelling until 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 fix the damage done.
The police arrest the drunk man, but he does not have two pennies to rub together. However, the woman’s medical bills are mounting. She can’t work. She sees a Tampa negligent security lawyer.
In this case, the lawyer would pursue a negligent security action against the bar. A bar staff member did not assault the woman. But that’s not the point. The bar created the condition that was ripe for this horrible incident to occur.
The bar substantially profited from this situation in the form of alcohol sales. The bar knew — or should have known — that this situation could happen, as fights like this had broken out repeatedly in the months prior to the woman’s assault. But the bar did nothing. Its owner refused to spend the money to increase security and protect the bar’s patrons.
Types of Cases a Tampa Negligent Security Attorney Handles in Florida
Negligent security cases don’t just take place in bars. These cases take place at:
- College Campuses
- High School Campuses
- Shopping Malls
- Parking Lots
- Apartment Complexes
- Hotels and Motels
The types of negligent security include acts like:
- Failing to background check employees for criminal records
- Negligent alcohol sales
- 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 proper surveillance (i.e. surveillance cameras)
Proving a Negligent Security Case in Tamp
A Tampa negligent security attorney must prove the following:
- The property owner or tenant had a duty to provide reasonable security measures for the premises. This means security, security cameras, sufficient lighting, working locks, etc. In our example above, we looked for the security standards that the bar needed to apply to protect its patrons.
- The property owner or tenant violated the standards and thus violated his or her duty to the plaintiff (the victim). 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 was met.
Settlements in Negligent Security Claims
Fair and just settlements in negligent security claims in Tampa 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 car accident 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 a lawsuit 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 standards did the company violate that led to this tragedy? Should the company have known this sort of incident could happen?
The attorney needs to find and speak to the employees who were working on the day of the incident. He or she needs to learn if security was done in-house or subcontracted to another company. The lawyer must discover the operations and practices of the company itself. The company, of course, must be forced to release 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 a lawsuit and understand that you may very well end up in a trial because so much is on the line for the company and its 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 that they are willing to go to battle in a 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 witnesses to the incident as well as friends of the victim.
- Interview the investigating officers and obtain any police reports.
- Interview any employees of the company where the negligent security action occurred.
- Work with the injured person’s doctors and treatment providers to make sure the proper treatment is given.
- Hire an expert or a team of experts regarding the appropriate safety and security standards for a company similar to that of the defendant in the case. For example, if the incident happened in a bar, then the Tampa negligent security attorney will want a security expert who is comfortable discussing bar security. If it was at an apartment complex, then the attorney will need an expert comfortable discussing security and safety standards for apartment complexes.
- File a lawsuit and begin the discovery process, Remember, it is almost always best practice in negligent security cases to file a 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. This usually means requesting documents such as:
- A list of all employees working on the day in question.
- All training and security operations manuals, printed or electronic procedures, etc.
- Emails related to the incident and to security.
- All incident reports for this incident.
- All incident reports of past similar incidents.
- Schedule depositions of the company’s employees to get the answers needed.
- Take the deposition of the person who actually committed the crime.
- Represent the victim when the person who committed the crime goes to court.
- Prepare the victim for his or her deposition.
- Prepare for and attend mediation and take other actions to try to settle the matter.
- Finally, a Tampa negligent security attorney will go to trial and ask a jury for justice if the case cannot be settled out of court.
We Can Help
Our Tampa negligent security attorneys have extensive experience fighting corporate greed. Schedule a free personal injury consultation with Denmon Pearlman if you or a loved one was injured because of inadequate security.