In the broad world of negligence, premises liability is the concept that involves injury from unsafe, dangerous, and defective conditions on someone’s property. At times, these conditions may be intangible, such as a lack of adequate protection or security measures which lead to unfortunate injury or death. Unlike some of the more obvious dangerous conditions that may exist on property, negligent security cases arise when there is a criminal attack on an innocent victim that could have and should have been prevented by the property owner.
Property Owner Liability
Just recently in Miami Beach, Florida during a chaotic spring break season, there was mayhem and violence in the streets in South Beach. Tragically, a woman was attacked and found dead inside a hotel after she was allegedly drugged and raped by two men. Surveillance from the scene just outside the hotel shows that two men were holding her up as she was unable to walk or consent while they brought her to a hotel room. Here, the Hotel may be held liable as its employees and management failed to provide adequate security measures to protect this young woman when it was reasonably foreseeable that this type of criminal activity could occur on the property during this raucous spring break in South Beach.
The four essential elements of all negligence cases are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Regarding negligent security cases, Florida law requires the victim to prove that the defendant and property owner held a duty to provide adequate security measures and that the defendant and property owner breached their duty. The victim must then prove that by breaching their duty, the Defendant left the victim exposed to a danger which resulted in personal injury or death.
Establishing duty in a negligent security action does not require the victim to prove that the exact way by which they were injured was foreseeable; all that is required to establish a defendant’s duty is to demonstrate that the victim was placed in a ‘broader zone of risk’. In negligent security actions, the ‘broader zone of risk’ can be established with documented reports of criminal activity in and around the subject premises, distress calls to the police emanating in and around the same property, public forum records indicating a need for heightened security, or security precautions the property owner once undertook and then discontinued at a later date. The factors which demonstrate the ‘broader zone of risk’ are not set in stone and differ from case to case. Aigen Law Firm has and will continue to rely on their expertise and knowledge of the law to prove all of the required elements for negligent security actions.
Florida law requires businesses to reasonably anticipate potential dangers and alert visitors, customers, and employees and provide adequate safeguards against those potential dangers. This concept is known as foreseeability and it is grounded in whether the property owner knew or should have known of the danger to the victim which was brought about by the negligent security factors, as described previously. The young woman who was found dead in a South Beach hotel room was certainly placed in a broader zone of risk as demonstrated by the myriad of violent crime occurring at or near the hotel during spring break for the last several years. At Aigen Law Firm, we have extensive experience in establishing the requisite elements for negligent security cases that are necessary to prevail in these types of complex cases.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a criminal attack on someone’s property due to the negligence or recklessness of the property owner, please do not hesitate to submit an online Free Case Review. At the Aigen Law Firm, an experienced lawyer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week working relentlessly on behalf of injured victims. We offer a free consultation and there is no fee unless we recover for you.