We all want to feel safe in our homes, at work, and when we’re out and about. Stopping at the grocery store to use the ATM, we assume there is adequate security to assure our safety. That may not always be true, however.
What level of responsibility does a store, or any business have when it comes to providing adequate security? The answer depends on what state you are in and what the law says in that state pertaining to reasonable measures for security.
A general description of security responsibility is:
A landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect against foreseeable criminal conduct. This duty is applicable to all types of business where you have business invitees: retailers, condominium associations, apartments, hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, etc.
It is the responsibility of a store owner, for example, to be aware of crime grids, recent dangerous incidents, and other hazards. They must take reasonable steps to make sure customers are safe. Cameras, security guards, and other preventive actions should be implemented for safety’s sake.
In Florida, there are specific statutes covering liability as it pertains to incidents that may involve security negligence. Chapter 768 addresses negligence.
For example, convenience stores are known for being susceptible to robberies, but Florida Statute 768.0705 states that the owner of a convenience store who implements applicable security measures may gain a presumption against liability resulting from criminal acts which occur as the result of a 3rd party.
Therefore, in contrary circumstances, where applicable security measures are not implemented, the owner may be deemed to be negligent and may be liable for damages.
What are these security measures? According to Florida Statute 812.173 the premises should have:
– security camera system – drop safe or cash management device;
– lighted parking lot;
– notice in the form of signage that the cash register contains less than $50;
– unobstructed window signage;
– height markers;
– a cash management policy;
– no window tinting;
– a silent alarm.
If a criminal act which causes harm to an individual was committed by an employee, there are additional considerations and statutes covering same:
Did the employer conduct a background check? Were the employee’s references checked? Did the employee complete an application with proper questions regarding previous criminal convictions?
There are instances where other factors may affect a business owner’s liability, for example: was the victim invited, or was he or she trespassing? Was the victim drunk? Was the victim complicit with the person committing the criminal act?
As you can see, the area of negligent security is complex, and Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus
has a great deal of experience in this field throughout the state of Florida. Gary and Arleen Lazarus have successfully represented many victims of negligent security and they are eminently qualified and versed in the statutes and precedents regarding these situations.
If you or someone close to you has been the victim of harm due to negligent security, a call to 954-356-0006 will connect you with Gary, Arleen, and their professional and caring staff.