Negligent Security Lawyer in Naples2150 Goodlette-Frank Road, Suite 750
Naples, FL 34102
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Negligent Security Lawyer in Naples
According to recent statistics, Naples is one of the safest areas in Florida, with violent crime rates significantly lower than the state and national average. However, statistics don't mean much when a bad actor has targeted you. Criminal activity affects us all, and while the criminal justice system hands out consequences for lawbreakers, victims of crime often find they need to turn to the civil courts to get compensation for injuries.
One of the biggest challenges victims of violent crime have when trying to recover compensation is the probability they'll never actually be able to collect, even when a jury rules in their favor. That's because the judgment is against a criminal who likely doesn't have any savings or assets. However, if you've been the victim of assault or battery or lost a loved one to homicide, you may have a better chance of recouping your losses by filing a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner where the crime took place.
Our negligent security lawyers in Naples are here to help. Civil action for negligent security falls under premises liability law. Premises liability is most commonly used for accidents like a fall on a slippery floor. However, property owners that are lax on security measures may be held liable for damages if it's proven they were aware of the propensity for criminal activity yet didn't take steps to mitigate it, and someone was hurt as a result. Our lawyers have extensive experience proving property owner negligence at Morgan and Morgan.
If Poor Security Was Involved in Your Injury, You Have Rights
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain safety on their premises. This includes ensuring buildings are up to code, visitors can't access areas where hazards are present, and visitors aren't subjected to violence by criminals. However, property owners aren't automatically liable for everything that happens on their property. Still, they are responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure the safety of guests and visitors from foreseeable criminal activity.
When a property owner or the holder in possession of the property fails in their duty to provide protection, it often makes more sense to go after them rather than the perpetrator of the crime because damages can be covered through an insurance claim. A person in control of the property may also be much easier to locate. At the same time, a criminal may get away with misdeeds.
A negligent security claim is a civil action that is wholly separate from any criminal proceedings that may be prosecuted by law enforcement. While a criminal may be subject to paying restitution to their victims, the likelihood of ever seeing any meaningful payment come from an offender is low unless they happen to be wealthy. Even so, the family of the murder victims in the notorious O.J. Simpson case are still awaiting payment for their multi-million dollar civil judgment against the former footballer decades later.
Civil claims are also easier to win because the standard of proof is less strict than in a criminal case. The prosecution in a criminal case must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, a civil claim only requires that it is more likely than not that the allegations behind the lawsuit are true. This means that even if the assailer isn't convicted, they can still be held to account in a civil suit. Let's take a deeper look into the requirements of a negligent security claim.
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How Can You Prevail in a Negligent Security Claim?
Suppose you or a loved one has been attacked and injured on someone else's property in the Naples area. In that case, you probably wonder how you can succeed in a negligent security claim. It's first important to understand that sustaining an injury during an attack doesn't mean you have grounds to file a civil claim. Proving negligence on behalf of the property owner is the clincher.
For instance, if you were mugged in a hotel parking lot and were injured during the attack, the violent act is not enough on its own. However, suppose there had been a series of muggings in and around the hotel, which the owners knew about. Yet, they didn't take steps to beef up security, or they didn't fix broken security cameras. As a result, you were then injured during a mugging. In that case, you may be able to get compensated for negligent security. Here are the elements required to establish fault:
You must demonstrate that the property holder was negligent in providing reasonable security measures based upon a foreseeable threat on the property, whether a place of business, a public institution or an apartment building.
You need to show that the negligence in providing reasonable security was directly linked to you coming into harm's way and that you were injured as a result. Injuries that cause financial losses are central in civil claims.
Duty of care - As a social construct, we all have a duty of care to others to ensure our actions or inactions don't cause harm. For example, every time we get behind a steering wheel, we owe it to others on the road to exercise care for their safety. Likewise, any time we're doing business that involves other people coming onto our property, there must be some responsibility to ensure people aren't physically attacked when we understand there might be a chance of such an event happening.
Plainly put, a negligent security action must show the property owner should have taken security measures but failed to do so. Here are some scenarios where negligent security would be the obvious reason for injuries:
- An owner of a bar with an established history of bar fights fails to hire trained bouncers to protect peaceful patrons. As a result, a peaceful patron sustained a traumatic brain injury at the hands of a drunken assailant.
- The owner of a hotel that has experienced a recent rash of guest room break-ins fails to train staff to check the ID of people saying they lost their key card. As a result, a legitimate guest is robbed and beaten by a trespasser.
- A college campus has a serial rapist on the loose who targets women in a specific dorm. Yet, college authorities fail to hire additional security guards and set up surveillance. As a result, another student is sexually assaulted in that dorm.
Injuries - Once negligent security has been established, the next move is to show that you suffered an injury because of negligence. Proof of physical injuries is most often found through medical records. However, a negligent security claim doesn't have to be limited to bodily injury. Often, attacks leave us emotionally and psychologically scarred. This type of harm can also be demonstrated with medical records showing you've sought mental health treatment or counseling. Once we have proof of injury, the property owner might be on the hook paying for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
What's the Difference Between a Negligent Security Claim and a Lawsuit?
A claim is a legal demand for compensation from an insurance company following an injury. A lawsuit is a legal action presided over by a judge and possibly a jury when an injured party sues another individual for compensation for their injuries.
Civil disputes are often resolved through the claims process rather than in the courtroom. There are many reasons for this, but primarily, it's usually the preferred method of resolution for both parties because lawsuits are costly and lengthy. Furthermore, the injured party doesn't have to gamble that a jury will side with the defendant and thus get nothing regarding compensation.
Negotiation skills are crucial when working with an insurance company. While you never want to settle for less than what your claim is worth, there is some value in compromising, especially if any elements of the claim are in dispute. However, suppose an insurance company is operating in bad faith or otherwise won't deal equitably. In that case, a lawsuit is a decisive move to try to force compliance.
When shopping for a negligent security lawyer in Naples, it's in your best interests to go with Morgan and Morgan Law Firm. Our lawyers work on every case as if it were going to trial. That's because we believe in the merit of the cases we take on and won't back down until we find a resolution that will benefit our client. Sometimes, that means fighting it out in a courtroom.
We're not afraid of going up against big corporations or even the government in the pursuit of justice for our clients either. We understand that it can be intimidating for some victims to challenge entities represented by powerful lawyers. That's why you need equally capable legal representation on your side. That's what we have provided to tens of thousands of injured parties over the years along with winning billions in compensation for them.
How Long After a Negligent Security Incident Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Naples?
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations to bring a negligent security lawsuit before the courts. The statute of limitations is a deadline to initiate legal action after an injury or crime occurs. While this may seem like a significant amount of time, we realize that for some victims, the trauma of what they endured may cause delay or hesitation. Some may not even realize they have legal recourse until they hear about some other incident. Whether your injury happened some time ago or very recently, a negligent security lawyer in Naples will work to ensure the deadline for filing your case is met.
What Kind of Compensation Could I Get for Injuries Caused by Negligent Security?
Every case will have varying aspects that will impact the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive. Medical bills and other financial losses are usually the foundation of personal injury claims. Sums for noneconomic losses like pain and suffering are typically based on economic damages and then multiplied depending on the severity of the injuries.
Essentially, serious injuries, especially permanent ones, will result in higher overall compensation. In cases of shocking negligence, the courts may award punitive damages to discipline errant property owners and make an example of them. However, this is a rarity.
What Are Some Examples of Negligent Security That Resulted in Substantial Judgments?
A Florida man suffered grave bodily harm after being shot in an apartment complex while picking up a Christmas gift. If security had taken reasonable steps, the man would not have been in the situation in the first place. $11 million was recovered on his behalf.
In 2021, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a $43 million verdict against a CVS Pharmacy located in southwest Atlanta after a man was left with permanent severe injuries caused by an assault in the store's parking lot. The property owner was aware of prior criminal activity in the area yet failed to increase security or provide better lighting.
On a retail fish merchant's property, one man was killed and another severely injured when two unknown men entered the property and started a deadly fight with the two victims. There was a history of drug use and homeless activity on the property. Yet, the gate was broken, camera surveillance was limited, there were no guards, and the lighting was limited. In the end, a six-million-dollar settlement was reached, which was the insurance policy limits of the property owner and the business in possession at the time.
Talk to the Experienced Negligent Security Lawyers at Morgan and Morgan
Negligent security laws are more complex than common premises liability laws. Your legal standing may depend on several factors like why you were on the property and past criminal activity in the immediate area. Key evidence can be altered to hide negligent security, and other information can be wiped out or quickly disappear. That's why it's crucial to contact us today for a free case evaluation. We will work to ensure evidence is secured and your rights are protected. Nobody should suffer the consequences of negligent security without being fairly compensated. We can make that happen.