Being the victim of a violent assault is a terrifying experience. While the criminal justice system exists to catch and punish the perpetrators, victims often feel let down by the outcome. While the criminal justice system often fails victims, the civil justice system may provide an answer.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, in Miami, our lawyers have been successful in filing personal injury lawsuits against negligent property owners in South and Central Florida where crimes occurred. Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe. This legal duty applies to known dangerous conditions that make criminal assaults more likely. If you’ve been a victim of assault, call 305-371-2692 or 800-610-9491 to discuss your case with a lawyer at our firm. You may be entitled to compensation.
Miami Assault Injuries And Negligent Security Attorneys
Predators sometimes exploit a lack of security guards or cameras, inadequate lighting, duplicated keys or other unsafe conditions to prey upon their victims. Our lawyers have obtained significant results from apartments, hotels and cruise ships for injuries caused by negligent security.
To prove liability in a negligent security case, our attorneys must show that the crime was foreseeable and would have been prevented by reasonable security measures. We analyze crime statistics to demonstrate that it occurred in a high-crime area, or that previous attacks had been reported on the premises.
When renting an apartment, people expect security measures to be in place, especially if owners know crimes have occurred before. Victims of apartment building attacks may have a liability case when owners fail to take preventative measures, such as installing security gates, cameras and guards.
Examples Of Civil Lawsuits After Criminal Assaults
Here are some examples of negligent security:
- A 24-hour ATM machine with inadequate security is the frequent location of armed robberies and assaults. After several robberies, the ATM owner still refuses to add security lighting, hire a security guard, close the ATM after dark, or otherwise make the ATM machine safer for users. A legal argument may be made that the ATM owner failed in his legal duty to keep the property safe from known dangers. Due to his negligence, the property owner may be legally required to pay compensation to future assault victims.
- An apartment complex located in a neighborhood with a statistically high crime rate refuses to add security cameras, gates or security lighting to the parking lot or hallways, despite the occurrence of several violent assaults. If additional assaults occur, the apartment complex owner may be held legally responsible for failing to make the property safe from known dangerous conditions.
Liability for Foreseeable Assaults
Property owners who invite others on to their premises, especially for a business purpose, are required to take reasonable steps to keep that property safe. Many people believe that this responsibility begins and ends at keeping an area clean and hazard free. While it is true that this is an important duty that property owners must fulfill, it is far from being the only one. For instance, part of keeping a property safe is taking appropriate security measures to keep visitors from becoming the victims of a criminal attack. Property owners that fail to take these measures can be held liable in court if their failure leads to an accident or injury, so if you were the victim of assault while on someone else’s premises, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Florida negligent security lawyer to learn more about your legal options.
Examples of Inadequate Security
While property owners probably don’t intend to make it easier for criminals to attack guests or residents on their properties, failing to provide adequate security can make such an occurrence nearly inevitable. Examples of this kind of inadequate security include:
- Providing poor or inadequate lighting;
- Failing to repair broken or weak locks;
- Establishing poor management policies;
- Failing to hire or properly train security guards;
- Failing to install adequate fences and gates;
- Failing to repair malfunctioning or broken gates;
- Failing to install adequate security cameras and alarms;
- Failing to screen entrants for weapons; and
- Failing to run criminal background checks on employees and tenants.
However, just because a property owner provides this kind of inadequate security does not mean that he or she will automatically be held liable if someone is injured on the premises. Instead, the victim will need to prove that such a crime was foreseeable by the property owner.
Was the Assault Foreseeable?
Before an assault victim can recover compensation from a negligent property owner, he or she will need to prove that the owner had actual or constructive knowledge that such a danger existed. When making this determination courts assess a number of different factors, including the type of property where the assault occurred. The owner of a nightclub or a 24 hour gas station, for instance, should be aware that their properties are more likely to see certain types of crimes. Other factors that will affect this analysis include:
- Whether there is evidence that other crimes were committed in the area in question;
- How recently those other crimes were committed; and
- How physically close those criminal acts were to the current assault.
Based on this information, a court will decide whether a property owner had a reason to suspect that a crime might occur and if so, whether he or she took appropriate security measures to protect visitors.
Florida Crime Victim Compensation Fund
As the victim of a violent crime, you may have the option of seeking compensation from the Florida Crime Victim Compensation Fund. If you have questions about the strength of your own Florida premises liability claim, the dedicated Florida negligent security lawyers at our firm can evaluate your case and offer information about your legal options.