A negligent security case is a term of art to describe the potential claim for money damages that arises when a person is on a commercial property of some kind, and is either attacked, assaulted or otherwise injured by the intentional act of someone else. Sometimes negligent security cases can turn into wrongful death cases if a homicide results. The nexus of a negligent security claim is the contention that the property owner should have provided better security or protection for the person who was ultimately attacked.
Is Negligent Security Different From Premises Liability, Or Is It Part Of It?
Negligent security cases are probably a subset of premises liability, as they are dependent upon location in order for there to be a case. When we talk about premises liability cases, we are typically talking about trip and fall, or slip and fall cases.
Negligent security cases look at a different aspect of the land owner’s duty — not just to keep their floors clear, but to have knowledge of the danger of the area around the premises and provide a commensurate amount of security there.
How Common Are Negligent Security Issues In Florida?
Unfortunately, they are more common than most people would think. There are certain businesses and areas of any town that seem to have a lot of issues with people being attacked, assaulted, or otherwise victimized by criminals. For example, in Orlando the area around the University of Central Florida seems to generate a lot of negligent security cases. There are a lot of apartment complexes around UCF that seem to generate a lot of issues with people being assaulted either in the parking lots of those apartment complexes, or in the common areas of those complexes. My estimate would be that approximately once per week throughout the year (and probably a lot more) there will be stories in the Central Florida media about people being attacked, shot, robbed or raped at a commercial business.
What Are The Common Types Of Negligent Security Claims?
The most common type of negligent security case seems to arise from an attack at an apartment complex. In an apartment setting there is almost always a lot of coming-and-going by residents and visitors. This makes some apartment complexes attractive for wrongdoer.
However, negligent security cases can also arise in grocery stores, shopping centers, office buildings, theme parks, malls, or any commercial property.
It can really be almost any location where there is a commercial property. A commercial property owner is supposed to know the character and layout of the area around his property. A commercial property owner owes visitors to his property the duty to take reasonable security measures.
How Do Negligent Security Claims Differ For Commercial And Residential Establishments?
Typically, we can only hold a landlord in an apartment complex responsible for attacks that are generated in the common areas of the apartment complex, which is similar to how it works with shopping centers or malls. If a person is attacked inside a store or inside of an apartment, negligent security claims become much more difficult to pursue.
However, even when people have been attacked inside commercial structures, we have been able to bring cases against shopping centers and apartment complexes for failing to secure common areas. After all, in most instances, wrongdoers have to cross through common areas in order to reach their victims.
Commercial property owners owe a duty to use reasonable care to provide security in the common areas of any business. That would typically include parking lots, walking paths, gates of entry, hallways, etc.
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