Negligent Security in Parking Garages in Fort Lauderdale

Throughout Fort Lauderdale, you have a reasonable expectation of security. This applies even if you’re in a parking garage. Still, attacks and other incidents are well-known to happen in these parking areas, especially when it’s dimly lit and not well patrolled by security guards. Even in these unfortunate circumstances, you can pursue legal options.

At Cowen Edwards, we stand up for any victim of negligent security–no matter where it happens. If you or a loved one has been hurt in one of these incidents, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Do You Need a Lawyer After an Attack at a Parking Garage?

When you’ve been hurt, it’s usually an incredibly tough situation. Not only do you have to worry about your health, you’ll probably have emotional and psychological problems that come up. While there’s legal options available to you, that process can also be overwhelming. So, even though there’s no requirement that says you need a lawyer, having our team on your side can make the process much easier on you and your family. Here’s how we can guide you:

  • Case assessment – To start, we thoroughly examine the specifics of your case. This involves looking into the circumstances of the incident, the past security measures at the parking garage, and the people involved. This evaluation helps us understand how strong your case is and identify potential legal actions. Also, it’s free. You pay nothing for our initial consultation.
  • Thorough investigation – Our team goes through a comprehensive investigation to gather evidence supporting your claim. This may involve getting security footage, talking to witnesses, going through maintenance records, and checking the overall security setup of the parking garage.
  • Establishing legal responsibility – We figure out which entities might be responsible for the negligent security incident. This could include the property owner, management company, security personnel, maintenance contractors, or others who are relevant to the situation.
  • Legal counsel and guidance – Providing you with legal advice and guidance is crucial for us. We make sure you understand your rights, potential legal solutions, and guide you through the steps needed to pursue a negligent security claim.
  • Interaction with insurance companies – We handle communications with insurance companies on your behalf. Our team negotiates with insurers to make sure you get a fair resolution for your damages, covering things like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.

How Do You Prove Your Claim?

The strength of your claim is ultimately going to rest on whatever evidence you have. Thankfully, an incident in a parking garage is going to have lots of evidence you and our team can both gather and present: 

  • Visual evidence – Take pictures or videos of the place, especially if there’s not enough security, poorly lit spots, or things that led to the incident. Also, make a record of any visible injuries from what happened.
  • Statements from witnesses – If there were people who saw it, get them to tell you what they saw. What they say can give a good idea of what went down and help your case.
  • Medical records – Keep track of the records from your doctor about any injuries from the security problem. This includes documentation from the hospital, notes from the doctor, and bills for treatments.
  • Police reports – If the police were called, get a copy of their report. It’s an official story of what happened and what the cops did to investigate.
  • Security documentation – Find out about the security documentation that was made about the incident, especially if there were surveillance videos. This will show who went in and out, and details about the security people on duty.
  • Maintenance reports – If the incident happened because security wasn’t taken care of, get any reports that show what maintenance was done–if anything. It proves that the owner or the one in charge of the garage and your security didn’t do their job. Also, get any papers or messages about security problems or incidents. This includes emails or letters that show there were known security issues that nobody fixed.
  • Crime reports – If the incident involved a crime, like an assault, check out the crime statistics for that area. This helps show why there should have been better security based on the history of crime in that area.

With this evidence, our team can help you build a solid case for damages. That said, it’s important to understand what the process is, and how you can actually recover said damages. First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out who is ultimately responsible.

Who’s to Blame for a Security Problem at a Parking Garage?

After a security problem at a parking garage, the big question is figuring out who’s responsible. Normally, it’s the owner or manager of the garage who’s liable. This is usually either a private company or maybe even the city, depending on the garage. But it’s not always straightforward. When something goes wrong in a parking garage, different parties might share some of the blame:

  • Garage owner – The owner is supposed to make sure the parking garage is reasonably safe. If they don’t do enough to keep it secure, they could be held responsible for the security problem.
  • Property management company – If the owner hires a company to manage the parking garage, that company might also be responsible for security. If they don’t do a good job with security or ignore known risks, they could be held liable.
  • Security personnel – If there are security guards in the parking garage, their actions or lack of action could contribute to the security problem. This includes things like not being trained well, not responding properly to issues, or being negligent in their duties.
  • Maintenance contractors – Security issues can happen if the contractors hired to take care of security equipment or barriers don’t do their job properly.
  • Third-party providers – Some parking garages bring in outside security companies. If these companies don’t give good and capable security services, they could be held accountable for the security problem 
  • Local governments – If the city or another government agency owns or runs the parking garage, there are specific legal considerations. Under certain conditions, government agencies can be held responsible for a security problem.

The reason this is so important is because you will be filing your claim against the responsible parties. This means facing their insurance company–and potentially them in a court of law.

Claims Process After a Parking Garage Incident

The legal process–formally filing a claim for damages–after a parking garage incident applies throughout Florida and Fort Lauderdale. While every case is different, the process generally involves two main options:

  • Filing an insurance claim
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

Filing an insurance claim is exactly as it sounds: our team can help you submit a formal demand to the responsible party’s insurance carrier. While this depends on the carrier, most of the time, they will then:

  • Evaluate the incident
  • Gather their own evidence through records and statements
  • Offer a settlement, if the claim is accepted

As you might expect, the ultimate goal of the insurance carrier is to try to pay you as little as possible. However, with our team by your side, we’ll make sure you have a strong case and will negotiate for a fair settlement.

If the insurance settlement isn’t enough to cover your injuries and other losses, the next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our team will take control of your case from there, starting by filing the lawsuit in civil court. After that, your case will generally proceed as follows:

  • Discovery phase – Documents and other evidence will be exchanged during the discovery process.
  • Negotiations and mediation – As the case progresses, both sides will negotiate to try to resolve the case before trial, which can be very expensive. Sometimes, the judge will order mediation, where a neutral mediator will hear both sides present their case in an attempt to settle it before trial.
  • Trial – If the case doesn’t settle through mediation, it could proceed to trial, where a judge and jury will determine the final settlement amount.

The purpose of your lawsuit is to recover certain “damages” from the liable parties, like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or companionship
  • Punitive damages in certain cases

Legal Guidance and Support After a Fort Lauderdale Parking Garage Incident

When you fall victim to a security incident in a Fort Lauderdale parking garage, Cowen Edwards will be there to help. Our team of skilled and experienced team is here to help you get the benefits and support you need to recover from your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.