The number of violent crimes in Florida has steadily declined over the past three decades. Still, in 2018, 393 out of every 100,000 Floridians became the victims of murder, robbery, aggravated assault or other types of violent crimes.
Despite the damage they often inflict, few criminals have the financial resources to compensate victims fairly. When crimes occur in a commercial area, though, victims may be able to pursue substantial financial compensation from business owners.
Business owners have a legal duty to provide a reasonably safe place for customers, vendors and others. This legal duty may include furnishing security to protect visitors from criminals. If business owners neglect this duty, crime victims may be able to sue.
In Florida, negligent security is a unique type of premises liability case. To establish a business owner provided inadequate security, a plaintiff must prove each of the following elements:
- The plaintiff was lawfully on the business owner’s property.
- The property did not have adequate security.
- The business owner knew or reasonably should have known about the crime risk.
- The plaintiff suffered harm.
Upon conviction for committing a violent crime, many individuals must pay restitution to their victims. Because this restitution is often meager, it may not cover medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Even worse, the criminal may never pay, especially if he or she is behind bars.
In addition to having deeper pockets than the average violent criminal, business owners usually have large insurance policies. Ultimately, if a business owner was negligent in providing security, the crime victim may receive the financial compensation he or she needs to recover completely.