No matter how careful you are, the possibility of being in an accident in Fort Lauderdale is always present. With that said, there’s certain scenarios where accidents and injuries can be avoided. One of the most frustrating–and common–situations where this happens occurs when your security isn’t taken care of. Known as “negligent security”, these incidents can lead to serious injuries and other damage that you and your family will have to deal with.
At Cowen Edwards, our skilled Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers recognize the significance of your security. We are committed to holding responsible parties accountable. If you or a family member has been injured in an incident involving negligent security, contact us today for a free consultation.
What is Negligent Security in Fort Lauderdale?
No matter where you go in Fort Lauderdale, you have a reasonable expectation of being kept safe by whoever is in charge. While this can change based on the circumstances, it’s ultimately on property owners or managers to keep you safe. Thus, when this doesn’t happen and you’re injured because of unsafe conditions or accidents on their premises due to negligence, they’ll be legally liable for any resulting injuries or damage.
One of the biggest responsibilities for a property owner involves having adequate security. Negligent security is a legal concept that says:
- Property owners or managers can be held responsible for injuries or damages on their premises if they fail to take reasonable security measures, especially when the risks are either known or reasonably foreseeable.
Under this definition, there’s a variety of different types of negligent security, although they usually involve the following:
- Insufficient lighting – Insufficient lighting on properties like parking lots, stairwells, or building entrances can foster an environment that can lead to criminal activities and incidents.
- Defective or lack of surveillance – Neglecting the upkeep or monitoring of security cameras can result in a lack of evidence or awareness during security breaches.
- Failure to restrict access – Not properly limiting entry to sensitive areas or managing the distribution of keys and access cards can lead to unauthorized individuals gaining access.
- Poorly maintained facilities – Broken or inadequately maintained perimeter fencing serves as an easily exploitable entry point for trespassers, compromising overall property security.
- Lack of cybersecurity measures – Overlooking essential cybersecurity practices, such as encryption and regular software updates, may result in data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
- Insufficient training – Employees lacking proper training in security protocols may inadvertently jeopardize facility safety, for instance, by leaving doors unlocked or sharing sensitive information.
- Careless hiring – Neglecting thorough background checks on employees or contractors can result in hiring individuals with a history of criminal activity.
- Neglected maintenance – Failing to carry out regular maintenance on security systems, such as alarms or door locks, can lead to malfunctions and create vulnerabilities.
Obviously, not every place in Fort Lauderdale has a duty to keep you safe. However, the law is clear: if you’re hurt in a situation where injuries occur due to negligent security, you have the legal right to file a claim. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what your options are after one of these incidents.
Understanding the Claims Process in Fort Lauderdale
The legal process of a negligent security case in Fort Lauderdale is like any other injury claim in terms of how the law approaches it. Basically, the pivotal factor revolves around the circumstances of the incident. If you were:
- Lawfully on the property, you were owed a duty of care by the owner or manager, and can file an injury claim against them and any other responsible party.
Typically, the claims process involves either:
- An insurance claim
- A personal injury lawsuit
From there, your case will follow a general procedure. Here’s a quick overview of the process:
- Consultation – Usually, you start by having a free talk with our team. In this consultation, we discuss what happened in your case–the incident, your injuries, and any proof you have. We look at whether your case has a good chance of success, explain your rights, and talk about what you can do next.
- Filing the claim – If you decide to move forward, we help you tell your side of the story to the responsible party’s insurance. If they agree to pay a fair amount, the case is finished. But if not, we can officially start the legal process by filing a Complaint in civil court.
- Discovery phase – Once a lawsuit is filed, both sides gather information to prove their points. This involves asking for documents, getting statements from people, and asking questions. Our team helps you by supporting your side of the story and questioning the evidence the other side has.
- Negotiation – Many cases get sorted out by talking instead of going to court. Our team talks with the other side’s people or insurance to try to agree on a fair deal. If negotiations don’t work, we might try other ways to resolve the claim without going to court through mediation. This could involve a neutral mediator helping both sides reach an agreement.
- Trial – If both sides can’t agree, the case goes to trial before a judge and jury. We present our arguments and evidence, and the judge or jury decides who’s responsible and how much should be paid for damages.
In negligent security cases, the primary objective of the legal process is to secure financial support for the harm you’ve suffered. Known as “damages,” they depend on various factors, including the:
- Circumstances of the incident
- Severity of your injuries
- Emotional impact of the incident
- Liable parties
- Percentage of fault you contributed in the incident (comparative negligence)
Following the filing of your claim, potential recoverable damages could include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Punitive damages, in certain cases
It’s really important to understand that how your case turns out depends on what happened and how your claim moves through the legal system. Also, it’s a must to follow Florida’s time limit for injury claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” Currently, the statute of limitations on injury claims is two years from when the injury occurred.
How Can You Protect Your Claim in Fort Lauderdale?
In the aftermath of a negligent security incident in Fort Lauderdale, there are a few necessary steps to safeguard your well-being and any potential legal claim. Many of these actions align with what you’d do in other accidents and involve:
- Seeking medical care – It’s crucial to get prompt medical attention, even for seemingly minor injuries. Keep track of your medical records and bills to support your case.
- Reporting the incident to the property – Inform the owner or manager about the incident. Request documentation and keep a copy for your records to strengthen the evidence.
- Documenting with photos and videos – Take pictures or videos of the site where the incident occurred, unsafe conditions, and injuries. Visual evidence enhances the strength of your case.
- Be careful with statements – Be cautious when communicating with insurance companies or property owners or their representatives. Just stick to the facts. Also, consider consulting with our lawyers before these conversations to handle them correctly.
How We Can Help
There’s no requirement in Florida that says you have to have a lawyer represent you in an injury claim, but particularly in negligent security cases, our team can really help. Not only do we have extensive experience in these types of cases, but we also help in other ways:
- Talking with insurance companies – Our lawyers know a lot about dealing with insurance companies. They’re familiar with the tricks these companies use, making negotiations better and improving the chance of getting a fair deal.
- Assessing your damages – Insurance companies often try to pay as little as possible. Our lawyers and team can figure out the real value of your claim. We look at how the incident affected you and gather strong evidence to make sure you get the damages you deserve.
- Protecting your rights – Insurance companies have their own teams to protect their interests. With our lawyers on your side, your rights get the same protection. We’ll advocate for you, challenge any unfair moves from the insurance company, and work hard to get a fair settlement.
- Taking away your stress – Dealing with injuries on top of the legal process can be extremely challenging, Our lawyers will handle all the negotiations, paperwork, and legal proceedings, making it less stressful for you. That way, you can focus on getting better.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you have to file a negligent security claim in Florida?
You generally have two years to file a claim for injuries suffered in a negligent security incident in Fort Lauderdale or anywhere else in Florida. Missing this deadline means you won’t be able to recover damages.
Where do negligent security incidents happen in Fort Lauderdale?
Negligent security incidents can happen anywhere in Fort Lauderdale, but most often, they happen in places like apartment complexes, schools, workplaces, businesses, and areas like parking lots or garages.
What type of evidence do you need in a Fort Lauderdale negligent security claim?
This depends on your situation, but usually you’ll need to present things like medical records, photos and videos of the scene, and any communications you’ve had with the property. This can strengthen your claim by showing that they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, and as a result, you got hurt.
Dedicated Fort Lauderdale Negligent Security Lawyers
At Cowen Edwards, we take your security and health seriously. When you’re hurt in a negligent security incident in Fort Lauderdale, we’ll be there to stand up for your rights and hold those responsible accountable. Don’t wait–contact us today to set up your free consultation.