Florida law requires property owners to provide for the safety of guests and customers. When a business fails to honor its obligation, and a third party harms someone because of this failure, a premises liability claim can arise. However, it can be difficult to hold a person or entity in Ocala, Crystal River, or The Villages responsible for someone else’s intentional, criminal actions. At the Dean Law Firm, our attorneys understand how to litigate these complex cases and fight for the compensation that victims deserve.Hold Property Owners Accountable for Negligent Security
Florida negligent security cases usually involve an injury to an individual due to criminal assault, battery, or rape on commercial property. Types of premises that may be at issue in these cases include malls, hotels, schools, parking lots, parking garages, condominiums, restaurants, and bars. The victim may sue the owner, manager, or occupier of the property because it was in control of the premises where the crime occurred. The first thing that the plaintiff must establish is that the defendant owed a duty to the injured person to use reasonable care.
Generally, a Florida landowner owes a duty to exercise care to protect business invitees or customers against reasonably foreseeable criminal actions. Foreseeability often turns on whether there have been prior similar events in the same geographic location. Also important to an analysis of foreseeability are the frequency of calls to law enforcement, whether the crimes were violent personal crimes or property crimes, the closeness in time of the prior offenses to the event at issue, and whether the prior crimes were similar in kind to the conduct at issue.
For example, if there were multiple rapes in a dark shopping mall parking lot, the property owner may owe a duty to install lighting and a security guard to reduce the possibility of rapes during nighttime store hours. However, if there were a few non-violent muggings many years ago and no serious crimes in a particular location, the property owner may not have a duty to guard against an unforeseeable assault.
Florida places several statutory limits on negligent security cases. Under Florida Statutes § 768.0705, for example, there is a statutory presumption against liability for third party criminal acts if a convenience store owner substantially implements certain measures specified in Florida Statutes §§ 812.173 and 812.174. These measures include a security camera system, lighting in a parking lot, a silent alarm, a drop safe or cash management device, notice in the form of a sign that says the cash register contains less than $50, height markers, and no window tinting.Discuss Your Injury Claim with an Ocala Lawyer
Property owners that know or should know that certain types of crimes are happening on their premises, but fail to try to protect their customers, can be held accountable. Victims of negligent security in the Ocala area should consult a personal injury attorney with experience litigating these complex cases. The Dean Law Firm understands this niche of the law and works hard to pursue compensation for victims of crimes. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form for a free consultation. Our clients come from Crystal River and The Villages, as well as other communities throughout Marion, Sumter, Citrus, Levy, and Lake Counties.