Many people understand that property and business owners must keep their premises safe for customers. Safety in the premises liability context also means protection from criminal activity.
If a property owner or lessee knows there is criminal activity in the area or the business could attract criminals, the owner must take reasonable steps to prevent it. Failing to do so is legally considered negligent.
If you were the victim of a crime because a property owner did not take reasonable steps to keep their premises safe, you could bring a claim seeking damages. Consult with a Wesley Chapel negligent security lawyer at Distasio Law Firm to discuss your legal options. A dedicated personal injury attorney could help you hold the irresponsible property owner accountable for the harm you suffered.
Situations That Could Lead to Negligent Security Claims
The owner of property open to the public must take reasonable steps to deter crime to protect their customers, patrons, guests, and employees. Determining what steps are reasonable depends on the location and the circumstances.
A proactive Wesley Chapel attorney could examine a crime scene and note the circumstances to determine what security measures might have provided an effective deterrent to the incident. Measures that might be appropriate in a specific location include:
- Bright outdoor lighting
- Unscalable fences and gates
- Motion detectors
- Secure locks
- Sign explaining no cash is on the premises
- Monitored security cameras
- Security guards
- Guard dogs
Property owners need not take extreme measures to ensure safety in every circumstance but must take reasonable steps to suppress foreseeable risks. For example, stationing a security guard to monitor every stairwell in an apartment complex 24/7 might be unnecessary. However, if the complex had no security cameras in the stairwells or had only unmonitored or dummy cameras, the owner might be liable to someone who suffered an assault while ascending to their apartment.
Criminal Cases versus Civil Cases
If you were the victim of a crime and the police caught an alleged perpetrator, you might be required to participate in criminal proceedings. These proceedings could lead to punishment for the alleged perpetrator, but they usually do not provide anything for you except the potential satisfaction of seeing justice done against the criminal.
A civil case against the property owner who did not provide adequate protection against criminal activity could provide you with financial compensation. A successful claim for damages also could teach an owner who profits from tenants or customers that they must provide adequate protection from potential crimes on the premises.
The outcome of a criminal case has no bearing on the result of a civil case. A negligent security lawyer in Wesley Chapel does not need to prove that a specific person committed a crime against you or that someone was convicted of the crime. To prevail in a civil case alleging negligent security, you must only prove that the measures the property owner employed to deter crime were inadequate and resulted in you suffering documentable harm.
Quick Legal Action is Usually Beneficial
Florida Statute §95.11 requires a claimant alleging negligence caused personal injuries to file a lawsuit seeking financial recovery within two years of the incident. However, it is unwise for a claimant in a negligent security case to wait before seeking legal help.
When a crime happens on their premises, property owners often upgrade their security after the fact. Although this is a necessary response, documenting the conditions on the premises before any upgrade occurs helps prove a negligent security case. When a victim in Wesley Chapel begins working with a negligent security attorney soon after the incident, the legal professional could take photographs, video, and collect other evidence that shows the security measures—or lack thereof—in place when the crime occurred.
Engaging a qualified negligent security lawyer in Wesley Chapel soon after the incident also spares the crime victim the stress of dealing with the property owner’s insurance company. Insurance company representatives often contact crime victims offering quick settlements in return for a promise not to sue. These settlement offers are usually far less than the case merits. An experienced legal representative like Scott Distasio could firmly decline and begin serious negotiations, maintaining the threat of legal action as leverage.
Pursue Justice with the Help of a Wesley Chapel Negligent Security Attorney
If you suffered losses in a criminal incident because a commercial property owner failed to provide adequate security, you could take legal action against the owner. People who invite the public onto their property to do business are obligated to take reasonable steps to protect them from criminal activity.
A Wesley Chapel negligent security lawyer could review your situation and map out the most effective legal strategy to hold a property owner accountable. Schedule a case review with Distasio Law Firm today.