A jury awarded the family of a 24-year-old deceased South Florida man $5.45 million for past and future pain and suffering plus $253,982 for loss of net accumulations, funeral expenses, loss of support and loss of services. He left behind a son, and his death was two months before the birth of his daughter.
The decedent and his co-worker were working at a car wash connected to a gas station when three young men tried to rob them. The decedent attempted to run away but he was shot from behind by the 16 year old defendant. At trial, it was discovered that the surveillance cameras at the gas station/car wash had not been working for over two years. The station is located in a notoriously dangerous South Florida neighborhood, and there were 4 earlier crimes at the station of which the workers were not advised. Testimony revealed that the manager at the station refused to walk onto the property without an armed escort, and that she insisted that her husband, a security guard, take her to work everyday.
Florida property owners have a responsibility to people invited onto their premises, either as guests or for a business purpose, to keep the property reasonably safe and warn them of known hazards. In this case, the owner of the gas station and car wash owed a duty to the decedent to provide a safe working environment and to take precautions such as warning their employees of the 4 earlier crimes at the station. Property owners’ responsibilities go beyond structural and basic maintenance issues, such as cleaning up spills and fixing broken steps, particularly where the premises present risks of trespass. As in the deceased South Florida man’s case, a property owner could be liable for injuries caused by a violent crime perpetrated by a trespasser. Alternatively, in limited cases, a property owner could be liable to a trespasser, such as if a child was injured in an unsecured swimming pool. A Florida injury attorney can help you determine the type of liability and fight to recover damages for injuries to you and your loved ones.
Security Against Criminal Acts by Trespassers
A property owner’s first responsibility is to protect people invited onto the property, such as customers, colleagues, guests, or workers. Responsibility for security commonly applies to commercial properties with a foreseeable risk of crime: hotels or motels, shopping areas, apartment buildings, parking lots and garages. A property owner must take reasonable steps to make customers and other visitors safe from theft, robbery, assault, or other injury caused by a violent crime. This may be accomplished through efforts to physically exclude trespassers or through measures meant to dissuade people from committing violent acts. Security measures may include:
Walls or fences with limited entry points limited to people with a key or code;
Adequate lighting in outdoor areas, especially parking lots;
Security cameras to monitor parking lots, elevators, and other secluded areas;
Maintenance of shrubbery that might conceal trespassers;
Private security guards at entrances and conducting routine patrols; or
Notice to local law enforcement to request patrols
The Deerfield Beach injury attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal represent people in Palm Beach and Broward County who have been injured because of negligent security on someone’s property. Contact the firm through this website, or by calling our toll-free number at 888-504-HURT (4878) for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.