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Who is responsible when there's a security breach at a resort?

If you have ever stayed at one of Florida's world-famous resorts, you know that they are almost like a world unto themselves. They purport to be able to handle all their guests' needs, and they have the diverse hospitality offerings that ensure guests will be able to do just that.

Security is one of the areas where resorts put an abundance of their resources into, and that benefits both them and the guest. It helps to keep everyone safe. Not only does adequate security protect the property from theft or damage, it also helps to safeguard guests from being the victims of crimes on the premises.

What happens if there is a crime?

If a crime occurs at a resort, the consequence depends on the crime itself. In Florida, property liability holds the owner or landlord accountable if the crimes being perpetrated are "foreseeable" and the owner took no steps taken to prevent or deter them.

This is a bit of a fuzzy line, one where different courts have held different interpretations of extremely similar circumstances. What that means for people who experience theft or assault in a resort setting can depend on both the attorney and the exact circumstances of the case, making it important for victims to get legal advice quickly.

Factors that affect premises liability

The law weighs a variety of factors when deciding whether a crime is "foreseeable," including:

  • The relationship between the victim and the property owner
  • The purpose of the victim's presence on the property
  • The degree to which the owner has taken steps to account for the foreseeable crime, either through security measures or warnings

This is fairly complicated, but it boils down to this: If there was a high likelihood that someone could have seen that venue as an opportunity to commit a specific crime and there are no measures taken to warn you or to prepare to deter that criminal action, then the court is likely to find the owner liable. Knowing exactly how the court will interpret various measures is almost impossible, though, because that is exactly what is at issue in these cases.

What to do

If you have been the victim of a crime and you believe it happened because of lax security practices at the resort you stayed in, contact an attorney to review the facts of your case. Only an experienced attorney familiar with Florida's law and the ways it is interpreted by the courts will be able to advise you about the particulars of your case.

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