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Proving Negligent Security: Four Key Elements of a Successful Claim


Businesses and property owners have a responsibility to provide adequate security to customers and other guests. When they fail to do so, they can be held legally liable for a foreseeable criminal attack. Negligent security claims can be among the most complicated types of personal injury cases. Defendants often try to find ways to escape liability. This raises an important question: How do you prove fault in a negligent security case? Here, our Miami negligent security lawyers highlight four key elements of a negligent security claim in Florida.

  1. Duty of Care

To hold a business or property owner liable for negligent security, you must first prove that they had a duty of care to protect your safety and well-being. In Florida, the extent of a business or property owner’s duty of care varies based on the ‘status’ of the injured victim. The duty of care for customers and other ‘invitees’ is high. In contrast, defendants owe a relatively limited duty of care to trespassers. 

  1. Breach of Duty

The second element of a negligent security claim is breach of duty. Essentially, a plaintiff must prove that a business or property owner failed to live up to its obligations to provide a reasonably safe environment. What constitutes a breach of duty in a negligent security claim is a highly fact specific issue. The unique circumstances of the case always matter.

For example, a large nightclub may be liable if an injury occurred because of its failure to have an adequate number of trained security guards on the premises. Alternatively, an apartment complex may be responsible for an attack that occurred, in part, because of inadequate screening at the entrance. On the other hand, a very small business will have a more limited responsibility to provide security. 

  1. Causation Between Breach and Injury

In a negligent security claim, liability requires causation. A plaintiff must prove that the inadequate security precautions were a proximate cause of their injuries. As defined by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, a proximate cause is a ‘legal’ cause. In negligent security cases, defendants often try to attack causation. It is imperative that plaintiffs present a strong argument linking the negligent security to the attack. 

  1. Actual Harm

Finally, as with other types of personal injury claims, actual harm is required. You cannot hold a business or property owner liability for negligent security if you were not harmed as a consequence of their violation. Proving damages is extremely important. You can only recover compensation through a negligent security lawsuit to the extent that you can prove you suffered harm.

Get Help From a Miami, FL Negligent Security Attorney Today

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida premises liability lawyers fight aggressively to help injured victims maximize their financial recovery. To schedule a free, no obligation review of your negligent security claim, please call us today. With an office in Miami and an office in West Palm Beach, we handle premises liability claims throughout Southeastern Florida.




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