When you’re a guest on someone else’s property you expect to be safe. In Florida, business owners have an obligation to protect you from reasonably foreseeable harm. This includes any criminal activity or violence that may occur on that business owner’s property. Owners have to take certain precautions and measures to make sure that you won’t be harmed by a violent criminal attack. If they don’t, you may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a premises liability claim against the owner.
Have you been injured because of a business owner’s negligent security measures? If so, contact Lavent Law, P.A. for immediate assistance. Our Miami personal injury lawyers can help you fight to recover the money you need to cover medical bills and make up for lost wages. We’re prepared to help you hold negligent business owners responsible for their actions. Call today to schedule your free consultation.
Legal Obligation to Protect Guests
In most situations, one person doesn’t have a legal obligation to step in and stop one person from hurting another. However, things are a bit different if you own property or a business that is open to guests and visitors. Florida courts have explained that a property owner “has a duty to protect an invitee on his or her premises from a criminal attack that is reasonably foreseeable.” A negligent security claim may arise if you, while a guest on another person’s property, are injured because of a reasonably foreseeable criminal attack.
Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers
There are three ways to classify a person when they are on someone else’s property: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. Under Florida law, property owners only have an obligation to protect invitees from reasonably foreseeable criminal attacks. This duty does not extend to anyone classified as a licensee or trespasser.
Invitee: An invitee is a person who is on the property because they’ve been invited by the property owner. Invitees must be on the property for a public purpose or for the benefit of the property owner. The invitation can be express or implied. Implied invitations exist when a business is open to the public and customers are expected to enter to make a purchase or benefit from a service.
Examples of invitees can include:
- Hotel guests
- Apartment complex residents
- Commercial business customers
- Business associates, or
- Personal acquaintances or friends.
Licensee: A licensee is a person who has entered the property for their own personal convenience and/or amusement. They may have been invited to the property, but there’s no real benefit for the property owner.
Examples of licensees can include:
- Personal guests and visitors
- Friends and family members
- Party guests, or
- Someone entering a business for a purpose other than the “purpose for which the land is held open to the public.”
Business owners don’t have an obligation to protect licensees from the violent attacks of third persons.
Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who is on the property without the invitation or consent of the property owner. Property owners have no duty to protect trespassers from the violent attacks of third persons.
How Do I Know If I’m an Invitee?
Your negligent security injury case will only be successful if you’re classified as an invitee. You should be classified as an invitee if you answer “yes” to any to the following questions.
- Were you visiting a business, such as a big box store, to buy something during open hours?
- Were you visiting a business, such as a hotel or spa, to benefit from a service offered by the owner?
- Did the property owner specifically and expressly invite you onto the premises to discuss or conduct business?
As an invitee, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against a property owner if they failed to protect you from reasonably foreseeable harm. Contact Lavent Law, P.A. to learn about the benefits of filing a negligent security injury lawsuit.
Elements of a Negligent Security Case
If an owner knows, or should know, that criminal or dangerous behavior could take place on their property, they have an obligation to take steps to protect invited guests. If you’re injured because of a property owner’s negligent security measures, you have the right to take legal action. Here’s what you’ll have to prove if you pursue compensation for negligent security.
The Owner Had a Duty to Protect You
Again, you can only bring a successful negligent security claim if you were an invitee at the time of your injury. You’ll have to prove that you were on the property to benefit the owner because of an express or implied invitation.
The Owner Didn’t Have Appropriate Safety Measures in Place
Negligent security means that the property owner must have been negligent in some way. Negligence occurs when a person has and breaches a duty of care that’s owed to another person. The property owner will have breached his duty of care to you if they didn’t have reasonable and appropriate safety measures in place.
Reasonable safety measures could include:
- Surveillance cameras
- Security guards
- Adequate lighting in parking lots and alleys
- Metal detectors
- Automatic security systems
- Door locks, and
- Properly trained staff.
The specific measures a property owner has to take to protect you from harm really depends on the situation. The location and type of the business, as well as the crime rate in the area, will certainly factor into which security measures are most appropriate.
You Were Injured Because of Reasonably Foreseeable Dangerous Activity
Property owners have to protect you from criminal or dangerous activity that is reasonably foreseeable. In other words, the owner should have known that this type of dangerous behavior could realistically occur. Whether or not harmful activity was reasonably foreseeable will be a question of fact for a judge or jury to decide. A history of criminal activity at the business and the area’s crime rate can both be important factors.
The criminal activity must have also been the proximate cause of your injury. This simply means that the injury wouldn’t have happened if the criminal activity hadn’t happened. You can’t suffer an injury for another reason and then try to blame it on the dangerous behavior.
Compensation Available to Victims of Negligent Security
A business owner’s negligent security measures can put you in harm’s way. You can suffer serious injuries when you are the victim of a violent crime. These injuries may require a lot of medical care and rehabilitation. Some injuries may cause a disability and prevent you from working ever again. You may also struggle with the trauma of your accident for years to come. You shouldn’t have to cover the costs of an injury that could have been avoided. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you to recover much-needed compensation from the negligent business owner.
At Lavent Law, P.A., our personal injury lawyers will aggressively pursue both economic and non-economic damages on your behalf. This can include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Nursing care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Have you been injured because of negligent security in Miami? Contact personal injury attorney Boris Lavent to learn about how he can help you demand the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Negligent Security Claims
When you are injured in a Miami accident you may have the right to file a claim for damages. However, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can after your accident. Why? You only have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation. In most cases, you’ll have four years from the date of your injury to file a legal claim. You won’t be able to get the money you need if your claim isn’t filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Make sure that you aren’t denied the money you need because of a legal technicality. Contact Lavent Law, P.A. to get started on your personal injury case today.
Call Miami Negligent Security Attorney Boris Lavent
It can be difficult to prove that you were injured because of a business owner’s negligent security measures. Owners (and their insurance companies) will fight you every step of the way. They’ll claim they had reasonable security measures in place. They’ll try to argue that you shouldn’t be classified as an invitee. They’ll shift blame to you. They’ll do whatever it takes to prevent you from getting the money you really need. You can protect yourself and your legal rights when you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case.
At Lavent Law, P.A., our attorneys understand that an unexpected injury can your life can change in an instant. We also understand how important money can be as you fight to get back on your feet. Contact our office today to schedule a free case assessment. We’ll carefully review the details of your accident and help you identify the best strategy for your case. We’re here to help you recover a fair financial settlement or award. Call today to learn more.