Can Property Owners be held Responsible for Criminal Acts of a Third Party?

It is well known in Florida that property owners owe a general duty of care to the public to protect individuals from criminal activities that might occur in their premises. This can be achieved through the installation of effective security cameras and hiring trained guards. Whether you own a small corner market or an entire shopping mall, you should ensure that everyone entering your premises is safe.

The nature of this duty of care depends on the foreseeability of the criminal act. This is the reason most premises owners have security guards. Surprisingly, there is no set formula or tools for property owners to establish the right way to meet this duty of care. No matter what measures you have taken, in case a criminal act happens in your facility, rest assured that the victim’s Miami negligent security lawyer will ensue a civil lawsuit against your business. Further, they will argue that your security measures were inadequate.

Besides, the plaintiff’s lawyer will try to establish that had the property owner taken the appropriate security measures and probably offered extra security that crime would not have occurred. Thus, it is recommended for property owners to implement the right security measures to avoid being held responsible just because they breached the duty of care.

Foreseeability of a crime

Generally, the foreseeability of a certain crime that might occur in your premises will always be subjective, though the objective criteria are discussed by the cases that try to offer guidance on that specific issue. The main factor from an objective perspective is the number of previous ‘similar’ acts of crime in the area in which the business being analysed is located.

Besides, the number of previous instances of similar previous crimes isn’t enough to establish an accurate level of foreseeability of a crime. If the crime had never happened before in that area or happened just once, how would have the premises owner foreseen the crime? Thus, it is challenging to establish the nature and extent of the property owner’s duty of care.

In Florida, courts have established a way of testing for negligence. This is done by balancing between the foreseeability of a certain criminal act and the burden imposed on the property owner. That means the determination of duty of care should be based on the nature of the case and will always be subjective.

Nearly all cases involving property owners being held responsible for criminal acts in their premises are complicated. The case might become more complicated if someone got injured and there was property damage. Who should be sued, the property owner, security guard, or whoever committed the crime? It is recommended to seek the services of an experienced attorney if you are facing similar allegations.

On the other hand, if you got injured due to security guards’ negligence, the law allows you to seek damages. Consider working with an experienced personal injury attorney to increase your chances of getting better compensation.