How Long Do You Have to File a Negligent Security Case in Florida?
Florida law limits how long you have to file certain types of lawsuits. Under Florida Statute 95.11(3)(a), you generally have four years from the date of your injuries to file a negligent security case or any other type of premises liability case in Florida courts. This may not apply in every case, though, so it is important to reach out to a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible after your injuries.
We can review your case, determine the deadline to take action, and get to work identifying the liable party. We need to investigate the incident and collect evidence, build a strong case against the property owner or occupier, and try to negotiate a fair out-of-court settlement before we decide if we need to litigate your case. All of that takes time, which is why it is so important to get started as soon as possible.
Understanding When You Have a South Florida Negligent Security Case
In most cases, property owners are not responsible for the actions of a third party at their home or place of business. However, Florida law allows crime victims to pursue a case against the property owner under certain circumstances. This type of case is known as a negligent security case. Negligent security cases stem from incidents when a person is the victim of a crime on someone else’s property.
If the property owner or occupier failed to take actions that could have prevented a foreseeable crime, they may be liable for the expenses and losses of the victim. Negligent security cases can stem from many types of crimes that lead to loss of assets or expenses such as medical bills, including:
- Sexual assault or battery
Property owners and occupiers have a responsibility to take reasonable actions to ensure the safety of those that visit, including invitees, customers, friends, and others who are legally on the property. This duty may include taking security measures such as installing lighting in dark areas and having security guards present, depending on the nature of the business and a number of other factors.
Both commercial and residential property owners, as well as occupiers who operate a business or live on leased property, can face legal action if they fail to protect guests from foreseeable crimes. In many cases, a property owner can take a few simple steps and prevent numerous crimes, or at least reduce their risk.
Proving a Negligent Security Case in South Florida
To recover compensation from an out-of-court settlement or obtain a verdict and recover an award in court in a negligent security case, a crime victim will need to provide evidence to prove several factors. This includes:
- They were on the property owner’s property legally; trespassers are unlikely to be able to prove a negligent security case.
- The property owner or occupier did not exercise reasonable care in preventing the crime or give adequate warnings about the risk.
- The property owner did not uphold their duty to offer reasonable security for guests on the premises.
- They suffered injuries because someone else committed a crime that the property owner should have reasonably foreseen.
- They would not have suffered injuries if the property owner had upheld their duty to provide reasonable security.
- They suffered economic damages.
In short, they need to prove they lost money because the property owner failed to provide adequate and reasonable security to protect guests.
Negligent Security Cases Offer Another Option to Recover Compensation When the Law Allows It
In some cases, filing a negligent security claim is the only way a victim can try to recover their losses following a violent crime. They may have medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering with nowhere else to turn for compensation. Sometimes, the police cannot identify the party who committed the crime and inflicted the injuries, or they do not apprehend them.
Even when they do catch the person who perpetrated the crime, the criminal is much less likely to have insurance coverage for this type of event than the property owner. For this reason, if a property owner failed to prevent the crime from taking place, you may want to consider pursuing a case against them.
Some Types of Businesses May Have Immunity Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, you cannot hold the owners of some convenience stores responsible for negligent security on their property. Florida statute 768.0705 protects “convenience businesses” that implement certain security measures, including:
- Training employees on how to react to a crime;
- Installing a security camera system;
- Posting signage about keeping a limited amount of cash in the register; and
- Using a drop safe.
This is important to know because convenience stores are common locations for robberies and other crimes. Still, despite this law, many convenience stores do not meet the criteria for its protections. If you or a loved one were injured at a convenience store, a premises liability lawyer can help you determine what options may be available to you.
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Can Review Your Case for Free Today
At the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, our team can explain your legal rights and help you hold the responsible parties liable to the fullest extent allowed by Florida law. During your free case review, we will discuss the facts of your case and help you understand if you are eligible to pursue compensation from the property owner of the home or business where you were the victim of a violent crime.