Key Points of This Article:
- In Florida, landowners can be held liable for foreseeable third-party crimes.
- The Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting and others like it continue to raise concerns over negligent security.
- If you’re injured on someone else’s property, hold the right party accountable. If you own property, know your responsibility under Florida law to protect your patrons.
Do you know Florida law changed several years ago to make landowners responsible for certain crimes that happen on their property? Under our state’s updated negligent security law, landowners can be held liable for foreseeable third-party crimes.
This controversial law is frequently misunderstood by the average Floridian, who might wonder what defines “foreseeable third-party crimes” in the first place. Let’s consider the details.
In order for a landowner to be held liable, the crime must fall under Florida’s legal definition of foreseeability. Foreseeability includes factors like:
- Whether a police alert was issued regarding certain types of crimes in the area
- Previous incidents of suspicious activity on the premises
- A recent security breach at the location
- A recent security breach on nearby premises
It’s also important to establish whether the property owner knew, or reasonably should have known, about security hazards. Is the property owner’s video surveillance system in good working order? Did local news organizations report on recent break-ins in the area? These kinds of details matter.
Negligent security laws are intended to give Florida landowners an incentive to keep their property safe for the people who use it. This is especially important in public areas and on private property that is used by a crowd of people. When many people are around, the risks rise for failure of safety protocols and procedures.
Recent Public Mass Shootings Raise Negligent Security Concerns
It’s hard to believe it’s been a few years since the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, yet the impact from this tragedy continues to reinforce the importance of security in public places.
On a hot June night in 2016, Pulse, a gay-friendly downtown nightclub, hosted “Latin Night” and invited the Hispanic community. During the event, Omar Mateen pushed past a security guard at the door, revealed the pistol and the rifle he was carrying and opened fire on the crowd.
The incident at Pulse became the nation’s deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter at the time. Mr. Mateen fired shots at the Latin Night attendees for more than three hours, killing 49 people and severely injuring another 53 before being shot and killed by local police. In part, the death tally was high because hundreds of people became trapped in the nightclub’s bathroom and bar area, unable to escape the venue past the shooter.
In the wake of this tragedy, at least eight more of the “deadliest mass shootings” have occurred in the U.S. People around the world continue to wonder how shooting incidents like these could be prevented and whether property owners could be partially at fault. The Pulse shooting and others have motivated droves of companies and individual landowners to reevaluate their security procedures and reassess their potential for legal liability, if an incident does occur on their property.
Tampa Bay Property Owners – Know Your Responsibility Under the Law
If you own property in the Tampa Bay region, review your security measures. Under Florida law, you could be held liable for a crime on your property like a shooting, robbery or sexual assault if you don’t take active measures to limit security threats. Ask yourself:
- Do you monitor your property for security breaches?
- When a security issue arises, do you act quickly to remedy it?
- Are you watching for local police and media updates about local crime?
- Do you have any open hazards or lax procedures?
- Have you spoken to a lawyer about your potential liability?
If You’re Injured, Take Control With a Negligent Security Lawsuit
When you’re injured on someone’s property because they failed to keep it safe, you can file a negligent security lawsuit to hold them accountable. It is likely they contributed to the incident that not only left you injured, it also leaves you with medical bills, lost work and emotional suffering.
For example, if you’re a renter and someone breaks into your apartment and assaults you, your landlord may be held responsible for their failure to provide building safety precautions. If you’re carjacked in a dark retail store parking lot with no security, the property owner may be held liable for your medical costs. With the help of a negligent security attorney, you can regain control and begin to heal from a traumatic incident.
When Results Matter, Call Kemp, Ruge & Green of Tampa Bay
Regardless of the reason for your injury, if someone else caused it, the only way you can recover from your medical bills and other losses is through a personal injury claim. The attorneys at Kemp, Ruge & Green Law Group handle many areas of personal injury law, including negligent security. We believe you should only have to work on getting well, while we worry about using the justice system to protect your rights. We give our clients the best possible results-driven service. You pay us only if we win in injury cases. Call 877-941-4878 today for a free consultation.