Arthur Liebling Helps Victims of Negligent and Inadequate Security
Criminals are like sharks. Both of them have the same objective which is to find a target or victim that will be easy prey. They focus on victims that are weak and who cannot escape. The ones who are exposed, alone, and can’t get help. They choose locations where they won’t be caught. They are masters at exploiting vulnerabilities.
A woman walks into a poorly lit hotel parking lot and is viciously attacked … A broken door lock allows a criminal to get into an apartment and savagely beat a man who is surfing the Internet … A young woman rents an apartment at a large “up-scale” apartment complex, that has a security guard and advertises how safe the community is. Then she is violently raped in her apartment by an intruder. She finds out later that the apartment complex denies they have security guards but now calls them “courtesy guards” who are not supposed to offer any security or protection. After the rape, the complex says they only hired courtesy guards to attract tenants and to give the impression of security. They were not hired to prevent crime . . . Or shoppers who are violently attacked and mugged in Mega Store parking lots and later we find out that literally thousands of violent crimes have occurred in the Mega Store parking lots over the last two years, and that Mega Store knew about these crimes, but chose not to take any action to prevent these crimes from happening to their customers . . . Or the apartment complex that hires a maintenance person, who has a long history of sexual misconduct, and lures a six year old girl into an empty apartment and molests her.
Behind every horror story we see on TV or read about in the paper, there are victims. People who are seriously injured because of inadequate security. These attacks are caused by opportunistic criminals taking advantage of security weaknesses. Crime is not random. Criminals look for places where they have the least chance of detection, where they can commit the crime easily and escape after the crime is committed without apprehension.
Businesses, apartment buildings, colleges, shopping centers, hotels and resorts are responsible for providing safe environments for shopping, studying, working and vacationing. Property owners and managers who ask customers to come to their business and spend money are responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe level of security for their customers. When these businesses fail in their responsibility and allow unsafe situations to exist on their property, criminals take advantage of these weaknesses and seriously injure or kill innocent people. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to inadequate security, call Art Liebling and speak to him about your situation.
Negligent and Inadequate Security:
Negligent and inadequate security cases involve the failure of a business, like a mall, shopping center, apartment, hotel, motel, restaurant and rental housing owners, to provide reasonable and adequate security for the protection of their customers and residents from crime. As a general rule, businesses are not responsible for “third party criminal acts” because they are not foreseeable. However, if there is a pattern of crime around or on the business property or if the nature of the business makes it more susceptible to criminal activity, the law imposes a duty upon the business owner to provide reasonable security measures to prevent crimes. Such measures may include: increased or better lighting, security guards, better or additional locks, fences, security cameras and overall improved maintenance of the property. A breach of this duty to provide adequate security is negligence. Sadly, many business owners choose to save money on security at the expense of exposing their customers to dangerous crimes. They make more profits but their customers are needlessly victimized by criminals.
Property owners have an obligation to know about crime that has occurred in their surroundings. They have an obligation to provide appropriate safety measures to prevent crime and ensure the safety of people who reside in or visit their businesses. When they do not have adequate security features in place or their management is lax in preventing crime, it will lead to serious injuries. Although the injuries were caused by a criminal, you may still have the right to pursue compensation from the property owner who could have prevented the incident by providing proper security.
Quite often, businesses spend a great deal of money on security, but they do so to protect their own inventory and equipment from internal theft rather than to protect their customers.
Our goal is justice for the wrongfully injured. To obtain justice, we will aggressively go after the insurance company of the negligent business to seek compensation for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. If the criminal is caught, we may also be able to pursue punitive damages against them. We can bring a case in civil court for you regardless of whether or not the criminal who hurt you is ever caught.
Negligent security cases often involve two distinct types of acts. First, there is the intentional act committed by the criminal who assaulted you. Secondly, there is the property owner’s act or failing to act to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner which attracted the criminal to commit the crime on their property.
Whether you were the victim of a sexual assault or were injured in an attack, Art Liebling is an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek justice for the full amount of losses that you are legally entitled to recover.
Art Liebling works closely with security experts to evaluate the property, the neighborhood and the crime patterns in and around the site where our client was attacked. Our experts will measure how effective or ineffective the security measures are to meet basic safety requirements. We then put all of this information together in a clear and compelling way to make it easy for a jury to understand why the property owner knew or should have known of the criminal risk to the victim. In many cases, the detailed preparation we put into your case in the early stages of our investigation benefits you in the form of fair settlement offers from the insurance companies who will compensate you because their business customer was negligent. They would rather settle your case with a fair offer, rather than take the risk of having a jury see all of the evidence we have assembled on behalf of our client and awarding you more than we were willing to settle for.
If and when negotiations fail to produce a fair settlement, we will be ready to vigorously represent your interests by filing a law suit for your losses and letting a jury decide what is fair. Art Liebling is a Board Certified Civil trial lawyer, who is a specialist in representing victims of negligent and inadequate security.
Foreseeability of Criminal Attacks
Something is foreseeable if it’s occurrence can or should be reasonably anticipated or if a person of ordinary caution would expect it to occur or exist under the circumstances. The question of whether or not a criminal attack was foreseeable in negligent security cases is up to a jury.
- Imminent harm: Foreseeability determined by evidence that the property owner knew or should have known a particular crime was imminent based on prior incidents of the crime in the area or on the property.
- Prior similar incidents: Foreseeability determined by evidence of comparable criminal acts during a specific time frame on or near the property.
- Totality of the circumstances: Foreseeability determined by the location, condition and layout of the premises and other relevant factors including any prior criminal activity on or near the premises.
Regardless of the approach, when an attack is deemed to have been foreseeable, courts will find that the property owner had a duty to use reasonable measures to protect people on the premises from assaults. Reasonable security measures may include hiring a qualified and reliable security service, installing security systems, actively monitoring security cameras, creating a security plan, implementing access control measures, having one-use hotel room key cards, or installing ATM panic buttons.
While the availability of particular defenses varies by state, some of the common defenses asserted by property owners in Florida include:
- Absence of duty: the property owner did not owe a duty to the injured person.
- Adequate security: the land owner provided reasonable security despite the occurrence of the attack.
- Contributory negligence: while the land owner may share some of the responsibility for the attack, the plaintiff is partially responsible for the attack by failing to exercise reasonable care and/or assuming the risk
- No available security measures are available: property owners may use criminal profiling to argue that there were no available security measures capable of deterring this particular type of criminal act.
- Promptly report the incident to the police.
- Seek immediate medical treatment. If you were raped or sexually assaulted, request an appropriate examination to document your injury.
- As quickly as possible, get the names, phone numbers and addresses of all witnesses involved. Take photographs of the scene if you can.
- Do not sign any documents relating to the incident. Do not discuss your case with anyone except the police and your doctors. Most parties that you will need to deal with, including insurance companies, do not have your best interests in mind.
- Call Art Liebling as soon as possible so that an investigation may be started, and evidence collected and preserved. Suit may have to be filed within a specific time frame according to the “statutes of limitations”. You also need to keep in mind that evidence in cases like yours can disappear overnight by the property owners in an attempt to protect themselves at your expense.
If you have been injured or attacked on someone else’s property, contact Art Liebling as soon as possible. There are two important reasons not to wait. One, is so that any evidence may be saved before it is lost, and two, so deadlines such as the statute of limitations do not expire, and forever bar your claim.