Negligent Security Lawyers in St. Augustine
Negligent Security Lawyers in St. Augustine
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Negligent Security Lawyers in St. Augustine
Have you or your loved one been injured at someone else's property due to their failure to provide adequate security? If so, you may need to speak with negligent security lawyers in St. Augustine.
At Morgan and Morgan, we know how painful it is to visit someone's property or event in a car and leave in an ambulance. This experience could damage you physically, mentally, and emotionally for years. That is exactly why we are here to help.
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What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is when you take legal action against a business or individual due to their failure to provide adequate security, leading to injuries to you or your loved one. Some cases of negligent security can also lead to wrongful death.
What Are the Elements of a Negligent Security Claim?
When you file a negligent security claim or lawsuit, it must satisfy these four elements to be considered valid:
Duty of Care
The first thing you will need to prove is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In layman's terms, it means they were responsible for your security. For example, when you visit the mail, you expect the mall owners or businesses to provide adequate security.
In this context, security means anything that is required to keep the public safe. This could be in the form of good lighting, alarm systems, security guards, patrol vehicles, guard rails, locks, and so on.
It is also important to note that negligent security cases are complex. For this reason, just because you are at the property does not mean that the property owner owes you a duty of care.
Suppose you were a trespasser at the property. In that case, the property owner might not be responsible for your security.
Breach of Duty of Care
After establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care, you must also demonstrate that they neglected this duty. This is what is known as a breach of duty of care. Under this concept, just because you got injured at someone's property does not mean that there was a breach of duty of care. The specifics of the case will determine whether there was a breach of duty of care.
To prove breach of duty of care, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant knew or should have known that the plaintiff was at risk of being injured at the property. Take a gas station as an example—if the gas station has a solid history of muggings, shootings, and other crimes, you expect the owners to take reasonable measures to provide adequate security. If they fail to do this and you get injured, you might have a valid negligent security claim against them.
You Got Injured
You must also demonstrate that you got injured due to the plaintiff's breach of duty of care.
You Suffered Damages
Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages due to your injuries.
What Are Some Injuries Caused by Negligent Security?
Some common examples of such injuries may include:
- Bodily injuries such as gunshot wounds and stabbings
- Rape and assault
- Wrongful death
- Deep cuts
- Broken bones
What Are Some Damages Sustained Due to Negligent Security?
The term “damages” refers to the losses you suffered due to the injuries sustained. In these kinds of cases, plaintiffs may be able to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, or both.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages are the kind of damages designed to restore the plaintiff to the position they were in before the injury and also compensate them for their losses. These damages further fall into two different subcategories: economic and non-economic damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
As the name suggests, economic damages cover financial losses sustained due to an injury. They are designed to restore the victim to their financial position before the injury. Some common examples of these damages include:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance costs
- Lost wages
- Medical equipment costs
- Caregiving costs
- Loss of earning potential
- Cost of transport to and from medical appointments
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
These are non-financial losses caused by the defendant's negligence. Here are some examples of non-economic damages:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The spouse of the injured individual can also file a loss of consortium claim, which falls under non-economic damages. This claim seeks compensation for the effects of the victim's injury on their relationship with their spouse or family members.
For example, suppose the victim slipped and fell down a flight of stairs due to missing handrails and suffered permanent paralysis due to a broken spinal cord. In that case, they may no longer be able to participate in certain activities with their spouse, including intimacy. Therefore, their spouse can file such a claim against the defendant.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are usually awarded to the plaintiff by the judge or jury. The main purpose of this award is to punish the defendant for their gross negligence. In addition, this award serves as a warning to other parties in a similar situation against such conduct.
In most cases, punitive damages are higher than compensatory damages. Depending on the nature of the defendant's negligence, the court might award the plaintiff up to five times the compensatory damages. It is also important to note that most states have a limit to the number of punitive damages the plaintiff might be able to recover.
Lastly, these damages are never guaranteed—the court has the right to or not to award punitive damages to the plaintiff.
How Can Negligent Security Lawyers in St. Augustine Help?
By now, you probably know how complex negligent security cases can be. Just because you got injured at someone's property does not necessarily mean they were negligent. And if they were, it does not necessarily mean they owed you a duty of care. It is, therefore, your attorney's responsibility to put all pieces together and ensure you have a strong case against the negligent party.
Precisely, here is how such an attorney can help:
- Review your case to determine whether you have legal grounds to take action against the other party
- Examine existing evidence to establish whether it is strong enough to support your case
- Evaluate your injuries and damages
- Calculate the amount of compensation you may be entitled to
- Help you access medical treatment, counseling, physical therapy, and other related services you need after the injury
- Research and interpret complex laws and how they relate to your case
- Help you understand your legal rights regarding your case
- Help you understand the dos and don'ts of pursuing such a case
- Explain and explore the legal options available, such as filing a claim or lawsuit
- Prepare you for court processes such as discovery and deposition
- Represent you in and out of court
- File an appeal on your behalf
How Much Security Is “Adequate” in a Negligent Security Case?
There is no standard way of establishing how much security is considered adequate when it comes to negligent security cases. It all depends on several factors, such as:
Type of Business
Businesses such as nightclubs are usually prone to security incidents. For this reason, you expect a nightclub to provide more security than a sushi restaurant would.
Hours of Operation
Businesses that operate late into the night or early mornings may require additional security. However, the same does not apply to businesses that operate during the day, like your local auto mechanic shop.
The location of the business will also significantly influence the kind of security required. The more crime-prone the area, the higher the need for security. So if the business owner knew or should have known that their business is located in a crime hotspot but failed to provide enough security, you may be able to take legal action against them if you got injured due to negligent security.
What Is “Foreseeability” in a Negligent Security Case?
Foreseeability refers to the ability to predict or expect a particular outcome. This concept is always subject to further scrutiny in negligent security cases.
Just because you got injured at someone's property does not mean they could or should have anticipated the injury. For example, if a nightclub has enough unarmed bouncers to protect patrons and prevent trouble, but someone launches a grenade attack at the club, this would not be a foreseeable incident. This is because grenade attacks are not the typical security concerns nightclubs are usually concerned about.
The bottom line is that the injury should be foreseeable for a negligent security claim to be valid. Using the example above, if a fistfight breaks out at the nightclub for the third time in a month, such an incident is foreseeable. This is because you expect the club's management to improve their security after the first and second incidents. Failing to provide adequate security the third time is considered negligent security.
Need a Negligent Security Lawyer in St. Augustine? Morgan and Morgan Can Help
At Morgan and Morgan, our negligent security lawyers in St. Augustine might be able to fight for you or your loved one following such an incident. As the largest personal injury law firm in the United States, we have the resources and experience to fight for you, ensuring you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to get started.