Negligent Security Lawyer in DeLand302 W New York Ave.,
DeLand, FL 32720
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Negligent Security Lawyer in DeLand
DeLand is the embodiment of all the good things that Florida living has to offer, including close proximity to beaches, nearby bigger cities with lots of employment opportunities, and loads of sunshine. However, there is a darker side to this sleepy little town. The crime rates in DeLand are 26% higher than the national average. Violent crime is 35% higher than the national average. In fact, you have a 1 in 34 chance of becoming a victim of crime in DeLand, which is probably alarming to residents as it should be. Because of this known data, property owners are on notice to make sure their premises are safeguarded.
Property owners have a legal duty to look out for the safety of visitors and residents, including providing adequate security to safeguard visitors from becoming victims of crime. Suppose a property owner ignores or is lax in security measures. In that case, they could be held liable for any injuries or losses that occur under their watch. Morgan and Morgan's lawyers are ready to help answer your questions concerning negligent security in DeLand, and we may be able to help you with a claim or lawsuit for compensation. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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What Is the Definition of Negligent Security?
Negligent security falls under the legal doctrine of premises liability. Premises liability law covers injuries and losses that occur on someone else's property, whether private or commercial. Criminal activity affects all of us. However, negligent security under premises liability law allows victims of crime a legal way to redress the wrongdoing and get financial compensation for the wrongful acts of others. Negligent security is a civil matter. The criminal that is responsible for harm or damage will be dealt with in a separate criminal action. While it's also possible to sue the perpetrator in a civil action, many victims of negligent security are better off going after the property owner because they will have insurance. Conversely, a criminal may not have any assets or financial holdings that could adequately compensate you for your losses.
Where Do Crimes Arise From Negligent Security?
Unfortunately, you may come to harm from negligent security at almost any place where a property owner fails to take cautionary measures such as:
- Gas stations
- Shopping centers
- Apartment buildings
- Parking lots and garages
- Recreational areas
- Movie theaters
- Hotels and motels
- Public transport stations
- Concert and sporting venues
When Can I File a Negligent Security Lawsuit in Deland?
It's important to note here that if you are assaulted or attacked, that does not automatically mean that you have the basis for a negligent security claim. For example, suppose you're robbed and assaulted in a shopping center parking lot. While it's a terrifying experience, to bring a negligent security claim against the owners of the shopping center, you would need to show there had been repeated robberies and attacks in the parking lot, and nothing was done to increase security measures to prevent further crimes. The owner of the property would need to know of the dangers, such as poor lighting, broken security cameras, or a lack of security guards.
To have a successful negligent security claim in Deland, FL, you have to establish fault, which is done as follows:
- You had a lawful reason to be on the premises
- The property lacked adequate security measures
- The property owner was aware there were security risks and could foresee there could be consequences
- You suffered harm as a result of the inaction
Foreseeability - The core element of a negligent security claim is that the owner should have anticipated criminal activity on their property. Illegal activities don't necessarily have to happen on the property for the owner to have taken measures. For example, if there were a rash of muggings taking place in the vicinity of the property, a reasonable person would assume guests of the property could also be targeted.
In a Florida courtroom, a judge may look at the type of criminal activity, how frequently this type of criminal activity occurred, the timing of the offenses, and if they occurred on or around the property. When numerous offenses are closely aligned with the harm you suffered that happened in a short time span, you have a better chance of proving negligence, particularly if no steps were taken to bolster security.
To demonstrate negligence linked to foreseeability, your Morgan and Morgan negligent security lawyer will investigate to discover if there is a history of similar assaults on or near the property. This is typically done by reviewing police reports and media coverage related to the area. This type of evidence is extremely valuable because it will have time, date, and descriptions of the criminal activity. We'll also investigate nearby properties and the property owner themselves to see if there is a history of insurance claims and police reports related to illegal activity.
Inadequate security measures - The criminal element of Deland, FL, is likely familiar with conditions that aid in their criminal activity. For example, busy parking garages with poor lighting and nonexistent security cameras would be a prime location to rob unsuspecting citizens. Likewise, an apartment building with broken security locks provides an invitation for unsavory characters to enter the premises and engage in degenerate activities. The owner of a rowdy bar with a history of assaults should take measures to have a bouncer or other security staff on hand to control unruly guests so peaceful guests don't get assaulted.
In like manner, a liquor store owner with an uncontrolled transient population should take steps to remove the unwanted visitors to ensure the safety of their patrons. In fact, convenience store owners have a high expectation for security mandated by Florida law. The standards for convenience store owners include:
- Security camera systems
- Drop safes or other cash security devices that limit access to cash and banking charges
- Specific requirements for parking lot lighting
- Notice that the convenience store register contains $50 or less
- Window sign restrictions to ensure the visual line of sight of cash registers and transaction areas are not obstructed
- Height markers at store entrance for easy height clarification of offenders
- Store policies that limit the amount of cash on the premises after 11 p.m.
Additionally, if certain crimes like murder, robbery, or kidnapping have occurred on the premises, two employees must be present between 11 a.m. and 5 a.m.
When an area has a high crime rate, and there are low-security measures in place, a property owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to assure visitors won't come to harm.
How to Demonstrate Inadequate Security in a Lawsuit?
We've reviewed a property owner's responsibility to the public, guests, and invitees, but what kind of evidence would you need to present that inadequate security resulted in your injury? Besides crime statistics and previous insurance claims from claimants who were assaulted or injured on the property, we would investigate to find additional clues pointing to negligent security depending on the property type. Here are some examples:
- The lack of security patrols
- Broken locks
- Mismanagement of building or master key access
- Lack of security cameras
- Failing to monitor security cameras
- Lack of alarm systems
- Inadequate lighting in parking lots, hallways, entrances, and facilities
- Broken doors and windows
- Lack of warning signs, such as no trespassing
- Broken security gates
- Lack of walls or fencing around the property
- Inadequately trained staff or hiring of non-qualified security guards
- Improper screening of staff for criminal history
- Failure to remove disorderly or intoxicated guests
When you are able to stack up all the elements of a negligent security case, you have a good chance of holding the negligent property owner accountable and can recover compensation for their wrongdoing.
What Kind of Compensation Could a Negligent Security Lawyer in Deland Help Me Recover?
Damages from a negligent security claim will depend on the specifics of the incident and the losses or injuries that you sustained. This includes stolen property and physical and emotional injuries. You may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Damaged or stolen property
- Punitive damages
In Florida, the amount of compensatory damages is not limited. However, the state does cap punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000. It's important to note here that punitive damages are not awarded in every case because punitive damages are not meant to compensate for injury or suffering. Instead, punitive damages are a way for the courts to impose financial punishment for egregious wrongdoing on behalf of the defendant. It's a measure that courts can take to deter responsible parties from engaging in similar behavior moving forward.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Negligent Security in Deland, Florida?
Under Florida law, victims of negligent security injuries have four years to file a lawsuit from the date of the attack. While that may seem like a lot of time to make up your mind, you have to think about how a delay can impact the evidence. A property owner may see the error of their ways after your attack and work quickly to repair broken locks or install additional security measures. While our investigation may suss this out, it's far better to allow us to start an investigation immediately after the attack. That way, we can surveil the property as it was when your attack occurred and interview witnesses before they disappear.
Still, suppose you've been on the fence about filing a claim for a while. Perhaps you've been recovering and just haven't felt up to it. That's okay. Morgan and Morgan's attorneys are used to having their job cut out for them. There are still a lot of opportunities to prove negligent security. For example, police records and crime data don't go away. Likewise, we may be able to subpoena business records to see if there were security expenditures after your attack to prove they knew their guilt and liability for the lack of security.
How Much Does It Cost for a Negligent Security Lawyer in Deland?
At Morgan and Morgan, we believe in helping people who have been victims of negligence. We understand that many people don't have extra money lying around to pay lawyer's fees. That's why we work with people on a contingency fee basis. This means we don't charge any money upfront. Instead, when we're successful, we take a percentage of the award when handed down. If we don't win, you don't pay anything. There is nothing to stop you from recovering compensation for another party's negligence.
You deserve to have financial compensation to pay for your medical bills and other expenses related to an assault or robbery. Similarly, the emotional trauma and distress you experienced should be compensable. We know we can't take back what happened to you, but we can help recover funds that could lead to a brighter future. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.