Is a Store Owner Liable if I was Attacked on Store Property?
It is something that you hear about far too often. An attack in a mall parking lot, at an apartment complex, or even a nnightclub. Unfortunately, crime is everywhere. Although there is nothing that can be done to completely eradicate crime, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of criminal activity. When such steps are not taken, and someone is injured as a result, this may give rise to a “negligent security” claim against the owner of the property.
A claim based on negligent security arises where a person is injured by a third-party on another’s property. For example, an attack by someone in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Often times the attacker will take advantage of the lack of lighting, security, locks, or fences at a particular location to assault or rob someone who may be a patron, resident, or guest at the property. Owners of property are legally required to ensure the safety of that property to the best of their abilities. Typically, negligent security cases allege that the owner or occupier failed to take one or more of the following steps, without which the criminal would not have been able to perpetuate the crime that caused the harm:
Inadequate security lighting or failure to maintain adequate lighting;
Failure to provide a security patrol or adequate security patrols;
Inadequate or faulty gates, doors, fencing, or locks;
Failure to install or to adequately place or monitor security cameras;
Failure to respond to a security alert; or
Failure to adequately warn of the potential for danger.
In addition, the injured victim must also show that the criminal activity was reasonably foreseeable. This means that there has to be some evidence to show that the owner knew, or should have known that there was a likelihood that the crime would occur.
How Do You Prove a Crime was Reasonably Foreseeable?
To prove that criminal activity was reasonably foreseeable to occur at a particular location, the best evidence would be to show that prior similar crimes had occurred at the same location. Although some courts actually require the prior criminal activity to be substantially similar, the Second District Court of Appeal, which covers the Tampa Bay and Southshore area, allows evidence of any criminal activity to be used in support of the fact that the property owner should have known that there was a likelihood that the crime would occur.
In addition to showing the existence of criminal activity at the property, evidence of criminal activity in the geographic location surrounding the property can also be used. Typically, the immediate 5-mile area surrounding the location is looked at for criminal activity.
Can a Negligent Security Claim be Made Against Any Type of Business?
The law relating to property owners applies to all types of businesses. For example, if the evidence supports it, a negligent security claim can be made against individual stores, malls, schools, hotels, bars, nightclubs, daycare facilities, and even your own employer. This list is certainly not exhaustive.
What Steps Should I Take If I Have Been a Victim of an Attack on Someone’s Property?
If you have been injured in an attack on another’s property, the most important thing you should do is to seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries. You must also report the attack immediately to the Police. You should then hire an attorney that is able to preserve the necessary evidence on the property and to investigate prior crimes in and around the location. At SouthShore Injury Attorneys, we have the experience needed to investigate such a claim and gather the necessary evidence to maximize recovery.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
which are available on our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813)419-3866.