Negligent Security & Premises Liability: Misconceptions Addressed

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2014 | Negligent Security

Unless you have had the misfortune to experience it, the concept of negligent or bad security is probably foreign to you. However, in a city like Miami, that has a high crime rate, negligent security cases are not uncommon.   Thus, as a homeowner, property manager, or business owner, it is important to understand this area of law.

Premises Liability in Florida

In Florida, premises liability is described as the liability of a landowner for negligence that occurs on their property. However, there are different standards of liability to which an owner is held, depending on the status of the injured person or invitee.

There are three categories in which visitors are placed: invitee, which is a person on the property for business (or tangentially related) purposes; licensee, which is, despite its name, the category for social guests; and trespasser.

The Florida Bar put together a chart explaining the divide. For a public invitee (for example, a guest at an amusement park), a business invitee or a licensee by invitation (a social guest), an owner has a duty to “correct or warn of dangers” that the owner knows (or should know) about (think wet floor signs). For an uninvited licensee (someone who comes onto the property for no particular reason) and a trespasser (someone who deliberately trespasses for a purpose of their own), all the owner has to do is refrain from wanton or willful conduct. More importantly, they are also not responsible for anything else that happens to Trespassers via the acts of third parties.

Negligent Security in Florida

Negligent security is a cause of action contained within premises liability. It applies when someone is victimized by a criminal act while on defendant’s property.  The injuries sustained in negligent security cases are usually significant.  Remember, the criminal act usually involves some form of an assault such as a shooting, stabbing, rape, beating, or other criminal act.

As has been noted, depending on the status of the plaintiff, and a variety of other factors, the defendant-owner may or may not be liable for the negligent acts that occur on their property.  For example, if the plaintiff is a business invitee, he is owed the highest duty of care. The owner has a duty to maintain their property in a  reasonably safe condition.  That means landowners must do their best to prevent any possible third-party crimes.

In 2006, pharmacist Shannon McCants was murdered at her place of employment, Shands Jacksonville Hospital, by a drug user who wanted more of her medicine. Her estate sued the hospital, as well as Wackenhut Corporation, who provided the hospital’s security. McCants’ estate alleged that Wackenhut knew of previous incidents similar in character, and ought to have taken steps to prevent further violence, as well as warning the employees. A jury agreed.

Get An Expert On Your Side

If you have been a victim of negligent security or bad security we can help.  We specialize in representing victims of negligent security.  Negligent security cases are difficult and expensive to  litigate.  A negligent security lawyer lawyer needs to understand the relevant information and hire the best experts.  Contact us, Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, for a free consultation. The law in this area is complex, and having an experienced attorney on your side can make the difference.  Look at our verdicts and settlements page, our results speak for themselves.

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Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for 4 years.