Everything You Need to Know About Premise Liability in Florida (Shootings, Stabbings, Assaults, & Negligent Security): Who is Liable?
While slip, trip, and fall accidents are the most commonly known types of premises liability cases, there are others, including shootings, stabbings, assaults, negligent security, and third-party vendor negligence as well.
Premises liability occurs when property negligence occurs by a business or vendor and can mean you are entitled to sue for compensation to cover your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
Understanding Duty of Care in Premise Liability
In Florida, victims in premise liability cases are classified in one of three ways:
- The highest duty of care is given to customers and invitees who are on the proper schedule.
- A lower duty of care is provided for those who are on another’s property for their own purposes.
- The third classification includes trespassers who receive little duty of care.
If you are injured – shooting, assault, stabbing, or otherwise harmed – on someone else’s property, the question is whether the property owner owes you duty of care. Generally, the property owner owes you duty of care if you were a customer, invited guest, or tenant. You are also owed a similar duty of care by the owner if you were making a delivery or some similar errand.
Understanding Negligence in Premise Liability in Florida
Once duty of care to the victim by the property owner is established, negligence on behalf of the property owner must then be proved. Essentially, it is proving the property owner was negligent or reckless and thus caused a breach of their duty of care.
In Florida, property owners aren’t responsible for every crime which occurs on their property. In fact, they are not responsible for protecting guests, visitors, or tenants from actions by third parties, unless the crime is foreseeable and could be prevented with the appropriate security measures.
In other words, the property owner could be liable if the crime – shooting, stabbing, assault, etc. – could have been anticipated and they failed to take proper reasonable security measures. Even so, in many such events, this is difficult to prove in a court of law, particularly if this is the first occurrence on the property. That is why it is important you first consult with an experienced premises liability lawyer at SteinLaw.
Property owners can be liable if they fail to provide adequate security to stop this type of violence, as well as their response in reducing the number of victims in the event of an incident of violence. Other factors also come into play in determining whether acts of violence could have been foreseen including area crime rates, such as (but not limited to):
- The history of crime on the property
- The history of violence at similar properties
- A known shooter at the property
- Suspicions of security personnel
- Existing security measures (security guards, metal detectors, properly-marked exits)
When it is evident that the property owner owed the victim duty of care and was negligent, the next step is proving a cause and effect relationship between the property owner’s negligence and the act of violence which occurred on the property.
Shootings, Stabbings, Assaults, and Premise Liability in Florida
Shootings, stabbings, and assaults can and do occur everywhere from school campuses to shopping malls, and every place in between. The perpetrator is always responsible for the attack, but property owners may also be liable if they failed to deliver the needed security for patrons, guests, and tenants.
Lawsuits often follow against property owners, event organizers, or security companies due to Florida’s laws regarding duty of care. If you or a loved one was a victim of a shooting, stabbing, or assault, you may have a claim against the owner of the property if they were negligent in protecting guests, customers, or tenants. Property owners must maintain their property free from hazards and conditions which might result in or encourage violent crimes, but even so, their duty of care is limited to reasonable protection for foreseeable risks.
In many cases, these lawsuits go forward successfully due to negligent security, because property owners owe duty of care to residents, customers, guests, and visitors. This duty is to ensure the property is secure and safe. Here are few lack of security measures that can be caused for a claim of negligent security in a premise liability case:
- Inadequate security lighting
- Overgrown landscaping
- Faulty locks
- Lack of security cameras
- Personnel or proper fencing
- No monitoring of secluded areas
Third-Party Vendor Negligence Florida Lawyer
In addition to violent acts and premise liability, third party vendor negligence is another area of premise liability that has recently been in the news in regard to Amazon, in particular.
In recent cases, both online marketplaces faced court scrutiny including liability and negligence litigation regarding products sold on their platforms. In one case Amazon faced liability/negligence claims regarding the malfunction of a dog leash sold on the site which left its victim blind in one eye. The ruling held Amazon liable for the product and could essentially open the company up to numerous lawsuits regarding products sold by third-party vendors on the site.
If you or a loved one have experienced third-party vendor negligence, like the Amazon case, please contact SteinLaw for a free case evaluation.
A Professional Experience Premise Liability Lawyer Can Help
A professional experienced premise liability lawyer has the knowledge and experience needed to help you with your case. They will guide you through the complexity and see that your claim is filed in a timely manner, while customizing your defense and fighting for your rights.
The complexity of these cases means you need a professional experienced premises liability legal team on your side to navigate the details successfully. We promise to provide the guidance and support you need, so you and your family can recover the incident and more forward.
Schedule a consultation with Lawyer Brandon Stein and the professional legal team at SteinLaw for a free consultation regarding your premises liability case. We will help to evaluate your case and determine if you, in fact, have a claim against a property owner for premises liability or negligent security.