Victim of Violent crimes Lawyer
What are my rights if a family member or I have been the victim of a violent crime on someone else’s property?
If you or your family members are innocent victims of a violent crime, financial assistance may be available.
Who may be eligible to receive a payment:
- The person injured during a violent crime
- Dependents of the person killed in a crime
- Anyone responsible for a crime victim’s finances, such as a parent or guardian.
There is an area of law under the general category of “Premises Liability Law” known as “Negligent Security Law.” The term “negligent security” describes a situation where you become the victim of a violent, criminal attack, such as an assault, shooting, rape or robbery, while on someone else’s property. These claims usually come up in the context of a customer being followed to their car in a shopping center and mugged before they can get in their car; a person being robbed or shot while removing money from an ATM machine; an assault inside a hotel room, or a robbery at a gas station while you are standing next to your car, filling up with gas. The law imposes a duty on these commercial establishments to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. That includes the obligation to be aware of what is going on around them in the community. If robberies, shootings, and/or other violent criminal activity have been going on within a reasonably close distance to the location where your incident occurred, the property owner has a duty to do something about it to protect you. If a shopping center is constantly the subject of parking lot robberies, the shopping center has a duty to add more security guards, put up more video surveillance, add more lighting, eliminate some entrances and exits or to take other action that other shopping centers would or should take to protect against crime. If one shopping center is in an area that is targeted by criminals more than others, there may be a higher duty for that shopping center to provide much more security for its customers then the shopping center across town, where little criminal activity occurs.
Other Negligent Security / Victims of Violent Crime / Inadequate Security Case Scenarios:
A hotel should not announce your room number to you at the front
desk, nor write it on your key card, to prevent a criminal from standing
at the counter and overhearing your room number or look at your key card
and see what room you are staying in. With your room information, they
can pick and choose who they want to rob or assault.
Parking lot owners may be required to put hedges around their property to make it harder for people to walk on and off the property without passing a main area that can be monitored.
A gas station that puts their cashiers behind a bullet proof glass after hours and locks the doors to the food mart portion of the gas station after 11:00 pm, may be required to either hire security for the customers outside pumping gas, or if it is that dangerous, shut down earlier and close the gas station at 11:00 pm.
As a former prosecutor working for Janet Reno, I saw many violent criminals go to jail for many years. This does not help the victim’s financial situation when they are left with thousands of dollars of medical bills, permanent injuries and the loss of ability to earn money in the future. I have vast experience handling these types of negligent security cases and can do the necessary investigation, hire the right professionals and otherwise prepare the case in such a way as to maximize your recovery. Property owners are responsible for what happens to you even if it is at the hands of an unknown criminal acting on
Victims of Violent Crimes / Inadequate Security Cases
Inadequate Security or Negligent Security claims arise when a property owner fails to take proper care of the premises to which someone is invited and is subsequently injured, including failure to provide adequate security throughout the facility for the safe conduct of those on the premises. This includes hotels, amusement parks, schools, malls, parking lots, airports, or any location where the general public is invited to participate.
If a property owner fails to take care of their property and you are hurt because of it, they are liable and you have the right to hold them responsible. Some examples of questions I look for answers to after someone becomes a victim of a violent crime on someone else’s property include:
- Was there any evidence of prior violent criminal activity at or near the area of the crime?
- Was there adequate lighting where the crime occurred?
- Was there any private security hired in areas where there may be a high crime rate?
- Were there functioning locks on doors?
- Was there a satisfactory alarm system or surveillance system in place?
Failure to properly maintain security could result in a
visitor being the victim of a violent crime such as rape, robbery,
kidnapping or worse. These experiences are both physically and
emotionally traumatic for the victim as well as their families. If you
or a loved one has been the victim of a violent crime that resulted from
Inadequate Security, you have a right to sue the property owner in
Inadequate or Negligent Security cases arise when a property owner fails to protect someone on their property from the foreseeable violent criminal activity of a third party. My law firm has handled many of these types of cases. Below are some examples of the types of claims that are common in this area of law:
- Muggings or assault of the elderly
- A child victimized by a sexual assault in a K-Mart
- A strong arm robbery in a shopping center / shopping mall parking lot
- A shooting of a gas station clerk
- A rape / sexual assault of a guest at a hotel
- Serial rapist involving attacks in an outlet mall
- Robbery of hotel guests unloading their trunk (they become easy targets)
- Shooting of a foreign student in an apartment complex
- Shooting of a customer at an ATM (which are also known as, “one-stop robbery shops”)
- A rape/sexual battery in an apartment complex
- A rape/homicide in a hotel
- A sexual assault at an office building
- Children assaulted in schools
- A pizza store manager molesting a teen employee
These are all examples of the types of claims that would fall under the general category of Inadequate / Negligent Security claims. Under Florida law, the party that would be liable for these types of claims is anyone that would have a duty to protect people from being injured while on their property. In order to hold someone responsible for your injury, they have to maintain control over the area where your injury occurred. Usually, if a property is leased, the owner is not responsible but rather the lessee would be the responsible party.
The primary way to prove an Inadequate / Negligent security
claim is to establish that it was foreseeable that the criminal
activity would occur. One of the ways this is done includes the lawyer
ordering crime grids. Crime grids are evidence in the form of
computer printouts that are made available by various police agencies
that report the crimes that have occurred in the area at or around where
your incident occurred. These crime grids help show whether the owner or
possessor of the property where your incident occurred knew or should
have known that it was reasonably likely that criminal activity (in the
nature of what occurred to you) was likely to occur.
Your lawyer needs to investigate whether prior lawsuits have been filed for injuries or assaults that have occurred at or near the property and whether or not there are any industry records or industry data that establish standards for how a situation should be handled. For example, there may be hotel industry standards that establish that a hotel employee should never announce someone's room number while they are checking at the front desk. If the hotel where your incident occurred did not follow this industry standard, and your attacker obtained your room number by overhearing it from the employee at the front desk, then that may constitute evidence that the incident was foreseeable and could have been avoided.
The business where your attack occurred may have had their own internal records where they mention standards that employees should meet to protect customers. Those internal business records may reflect that they were on notice of a dangerous condition but failed to protect you from it. For example, if a property owner claims that it would never be reasonable to have four security guards, but then after the accident they go out and hire four security guards, this subsequent, remedial measure, may be used to prove the feasibility of having additional security guards, which may have prevented your incident in the first place.
are certain issues involving deterrents that affect Inadequate /
Negligent security cases. An unmonitored, out of service or otherwise
unconnected closed-circuit television system does not do any good as a
deterrent. These are known as
"dummy cameras." They provide a false sense of security and create liability because the criminal perpetrator may realize that the camera is not connected but you might not. If you assume that it is functioning properly, it is putting you at ease and making you even more susceptible to criminal acts.
Environmental design can be used to reduce crime, including designs that lower hedges, control entrances or the means of ingress and egress to a particular facility. Creative, environmental design can remove environmental obstructions that might prevent security from observing eminent criminal activity.
There are also issues of lighting. Most professionals will say that lighting plays a substantial role in making a property safe from criminal activity. A pitch black parking lot is more likely to be a place where a criminal will lie in wait for a victim than one which is well lit, and where others can see him.
Hotel keycards and access to master keys are a major issue in hotels. Issues arise when an employee who should not have access to master keys gains access to the masters. This becomes a problem when the employee returns to the property after work hours in an attempt to commit a criminal act.
As a former Prosecutor working for Janet Reno, I have handled
many matters involving violent criminal activity. As an experienced
attorney in these types of cases, I can explore all possible claims for
you. Call or Contact Me