When a loved one gets killed by someone on the property of a business, the first instinct for most people is to go after the attacker. Often times, these attackers are punished by the criminal system. However, what happens when you find out that the business had a long history of violence and criminal activity, and your loved one may have died because that business didn't want to spend the money to implement proper security measures?
Well, that's where the civil side of the law comes into play. Often times, businesses like hotels, motels, apartment complexes, convenience stores, and bars experience regular crime, and the owner does nothing to deter future crime. Then, someone goes onto the property, often with no idea that the business is dangerous, and gets attacked by a criminal. If you and your wrongful death negligent security lawyer can show that your loved one died as a result of the property owner's negligence, you and other family members may be entitled to compensation.
Obviously, a negligent security lawsuit can't bring your loved one back. However, it's a way for family to get justice, and it's also a way to make sure that businesses implement proper security measures. This makes the community safer, and it keeps other people from having to experience the loss of a loved one.
What is Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida Statute 768.19 defines a "wrongful death" as the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. Essentially, a wrongful death is a situation where the person would have been able to bring a claim for personal injury had they survived the incident. Since the person cannot bring a claim, the personal representative of that person's estate must bring a wrongful death claim to get justice.
The Basics of Inadequate Security
Inadequate security or negligent security includes any situation where a business owner or property owner failed to implement security measures to protect guests and visitors from foreseeable criminal attacks. For example, an apartment complex may have a malfunctioning gate that allows anyone to enter the property. A nightclub might not have proper security personnel to manage violent activity. Another example would be a hotel or gas station that ignores prostitution, drug dealing, and trespassing. Some of the more common examples of negligent security include:
- No security cameras or broken security cameras
- Broken or malfunctioning security gates
- Inadequate lighting in parking lots or common areas
- Too few staff members
- No security guards or improperly trained security guards
- Blocked exits
- No security checks to screen for weapons
Common Causes of Death in Negligent Security Cases
Wrongful death cases based on negligent security often involve a violent criminal attack. Some of the more common types of violent attacks include the following:
- Sexual assaults
- Physical attacks
- Attacks with a weapon
Who Can Be Held Liable for Negligent Security?
Identifying all the potential defendants in a negligent security case is critical for several reasons. Obviously, we want to make sure that negligent parties are held liable for contributing to a person's death. However, we also want to make sure that we uncover all potential insurance policies that could be responsible for paying a family for their loved one's death. Some of the more common parties that can be held liable for negligent security are:
- Security companies
- Security guards
- Property owners
- Property lessees
- Business owners
- Business management companies
Many businesses and entities will carry substantial insurance policies. Thus, although no amount of money is worth losing a loved one, there may be a significant amount of money to pay families for what was taken from them. However, this is not guaranteed, and some companies don't carry insurance, and some insurance policies don't cover assaults and criminal attacks.
Proving a Successful Negligent Security Case in Florida
What a claimant must prove will depend upon the type of business or entity they're bringing a claim against. Gas stations and convenience stores don't have the same security requirements as, say, a nightclub or a bar. Therefore, the specifics of the case will determine what a claimant must prove.
Ultimately, negligent security is a type of premises liability claim, this means that claimants must generally establish that (1) the entity or property owner owed a duty of care to the victim; (2) they breached that duty of care by failing to implement proper security measures; and (3) this failure or breach of care directly caused the victim's death. When you hire a wrongful death negligent security lawyer, your lawyer will work to gather the evidence necessary to establish these key elements of the claim.
In addition to proving that the defendant breached its duty of care and caused the victim's death, the claimant also needs to establish that the crime was foreseeable. This means showing that there was crime in the area or that the property had a history of crime, like the attack that caused the victim's death. A negligent security attorney can help you by gathering relevant evidence to establish foreseeability, like crime data, 911 calls to the property, and other data that can be used to show that the property was dangerous and should have had more security.
Compensation in Florida Negligent Security Wrongful Death Cases
In the heart-wrenching aftermath of a wrongful death, families often grapple with financial uncertainty alongside grief. Fortunately, Florida law allows for various types of compensation to help ease this burden.
Economic damages aim to cover tangible and quantifiable losses resulting from the victim's death. This includes things like medical expenses incurred prior to death and funeral costs. These damages also encompass lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned if they had not been killed.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for emotional distress, mental anguish, or mental pain and suffering experienced by survivors due to their loved one's untimely demise. Certain family members may also be entitled for loss of companionship, guidance, and protection, and other family members, like spouses and children, may be entitled to compensation for lost love and emotional support. Similarly, parents of a deceased child may be entitled to the psychological suffering they experience as a result of losing their child.
Punitive Damages: The Exception Rather Than Rule
While economic and non-economic damages seek to compensate families for their loss, punitive damages serve as punishment for egregious behavior. Punitive damages are rare and awarded only when the defendant's conduct was particularly reckless or intentional.
FAQs in Relation to Wrongful Death Negligent Security Lawyer
Q1: What is the negligent security law in Florida?
A1: Negligent security law in Florida holds property owners responsible for preventable foreseeable crimes that occur on their premises due to lack of proper safety measures.
Q2: Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
A2: Surviving family members will typically get the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. The specific beneficiaries entitled to money from a settlement or verdict are determined by Florida Statute 768.21. Under the statute, money may be distributed to a spouse, children, parents, or other family members, depending on the facts of the case.
Q3: How long do you have to file a wrongful death suit in Florida?
A3: You have two years from the date of the decedent's death to file a wrongful death negligent security claim in Florida. The statute of limitations is outlined in Florida Statute 95.11(4)(d). However, this deadline may be different, depending on the type of case (i.e., medical malpractice or cases against the government). You should speak with a wrongful death negligent security attorney at the earliest opportunity to make sure you don't lose your right to bring a claim for damages.
Q4: Can a sibling file a wrongful death suit in Florida?
A4: A sibling may be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death suit in Florida. However, whether a sibling can actually bring a claim will depend upon whether the sibling is the personal representative of the decedent's estate. Our negligent security attorneys can work with you to make sure the proper steps are taken so that you and your family can seek compensation for your loss through a negligent security claim.
Q5: What is inadequate security?
A5: Inadequate security refers to a situation where sufficient protective measures aren't taken, potentially leading to harm or injury because of criminal activity. Some examples of inadequate security are broken security gates, a lack of security guards or improperly trained security guards, improper staffing, inadequate lighting, or a lack of security cameras. Your negligent security lawyer will work to determine all the ways in which the property failed your loved one so that you can bring the strongest negligent security claim possible.