Can Security Guards Be Liable for Negligence?
Security guards are employed by a wide variety of business establishments and commercial properties to provide protection and a sense of wellbeing to customers, visitors, employees, and residents. Landlords, business owners, and property owners invite people onto their premises and assume a legal duty to secure those premises from any foreseeable dangers and threats of physical harm to the people who visit.
When you are the victim of a crime because a business or property owner responsible for keeping the location safe failed to provide adequate security, Florida law entitles you to bring a negligent security claim against the parties who breached their duty and to hold them financially accountable for all your personal injuries and other damages. Qualified “security negligence” personal injury lawyers have years of experience recovering compensation for victims of such injuries, including victims of wrongful death.
Florida Law and Security Guard Negligence
The Hannon Law Group fights to get maximum compensation for our clients’ security negligence claims. No one can guarantee total protection from the criminal acts of a third party, and the law does not require absolute security. The law does require responsible property owners and managers to address any foreseeable opportunity in which a visitor could be criminally victimized. It also mandates that any contracted security company or security guard perform their duties with reasonable care and consistent with standards expected in their profession.
Security companies can be accountable for injuries suffered because their guards failed to walk their rounds, slept on duty, failed to monitor their cameras, refused to escort a client’s employee to a nearby parking lot, or other neglectful conduct. Security guards are also liable for injuries resulting from their own use of excessive force, misuse of authority, or other intentional behavior. Since most instances of security guard negligence involve conduct within the scope of their employment, the company employing them is liable as well.
Examples of Negligent Security Cases
The community has a right to expect they will not be preyed upon by criminals because someone ignored their obligation to take reasonable steps to make the premises safe for others.
- An apartment complex tenant was attacked by an assailant who entered the building through a door the sleeping security guard left unlocked.
- Workers on the late shift were assaulted and robbed as walked to their car through poorly-lit garage security cameras.
- Nightclub patrons were wounded when guns and knives were allowed past the screening staff at the door to a crowded bar.
- Bouncers failed to intervene for thirty minutes as a rowdy trio threw things until a bottle was thrown that severely injured another customer.
- A bar patron was injured when a bouncer who escorted him to the door by the arm shoved him at the entrance and caused him to fall, striking his head.
- Racetrack security guard used a club to assault a man and falsely imprisoned him.
- A nurse was murdered on her way to her car in the hospital parking lot.
- A shopping mall customer was robbed and raped in the restroom.
- A college sophomore was raped as she walked from an evening class to her dorm.
Each of these scenarios are actual cases of negligent security that could have been prevented if the owner or management of the premises fulfilled their duty to provide reasonable security under the circumstances.
Proving a Negligent Security Case
Cases in which innocent people were robbed, sexually assaulted, beaten, or even murdered in a location they reasonably thought was secure are too tragic and too numerous to catalog. Whatever the facts are in each case, the law applies the same analysis to determine if a negligent security complaint will be successful against the owner or other person responsible for security.
To win a case of negligent security, the law requires the evidence to prove that all four elements that make up a negligent security case are resent:
- You were on the premises lawfully.
- Everyone but a trespasser has a right to expect reasonable security.
- The property owner or responsible party should have foreseen the criminal conduct.
- Any foreseeable circumstance creates a legal duty for the owner.
- Adequate security measures were NOT taken by the responsible party.
- Reasonable steps could be hiring a sufficient number of competent, trustworthy guards, installing functioning security cameras, fixing broken door locks, providing adequate lighting, conducting weapons screening, hiring enough trained bouncers, etc.
- You suffered damages because of their breach of duty to secure the premises.
- It is necessary to show a “causal connection” between the negligent security and the injury you suffered.
How a Security Negligence Law Firm Can Help
Bringing a claim of negligence against a security guard company, or against a bar for the negligent conduct of a bouncer, requires the guidance and experience of legal professionals who followed the development of this special area of the law.
Lawyers working for insurance companies or in-house counsel for corporations whose negligent security resulted in your injuries will argue against their own liability. They can try to establish one of the defenses available to resist negligent security claims:
- the crime perpetrated against the injured victim on our property was not foreseeable;
- the property owner could not have known about an existing gap in security coverage;
- the injured victim’s own negligence contributed to their being victimized;
- the victim was expressly warned and told not to go near the area where they were attacked;
- their client took every reasonable step to secure the premises from all foreseeable dangers;
- the security guard (or bouncer) was not acting within the scope of his employment when the act occurred [in cases where the guard or bouncer intentionally harmed the victim]
- the victim was trespassing on the premises when they were injured
Property owners’ legal arguments intended to defeat an injured victim’s claim of negligent security must be opposed by more authoritative arguments using compelling evidence and supported by legal principles. There is no substitute for an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle your negligent security case.
At the Hannon Legal Group, our team of premises liability specialists are experts in winning our clients the highest settlements possible in negligence cases. Security negligence is a special category of negligence case that requires an immediate commitment of time and resources by your counsel to investigate and preserve favorable evidence at the location of the events and to prepare the case for optimal results.
What Can You Recover in Compensation?
Victims of injuries caused by negligent security guards, bouncers, and the companies employing them are entitled to recover full compensation for all the damages they suffer. While every fact pattern is different, winning the following compensation is common:
- full payment of all expenses for medical treatment, surgery, hospitalization, laboratory tests, MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, rehabilitation healthcare; any injury-related therapy, all medications, any adaptive equipment (wheelchair, in-home hospital bed, ramp, etc.), in-home nursing, etc.;
- all expenses for any of the above care likely to be required in the
- past and future lost wages;
- loss of earning capacity
- loss of use of any body part, limb, appendage or internal organ;
- compensation for all your physical pain and suffering;
- compensation for any psychic, emotional, or mental pain and suffering;
- total restitution of the value of any property damaged, lost, or stolen;
- punitive damages can be awarded where the injuries resulted from the defendant’s intentional conduct or actions judged to be in wanton and reckless disregard for the safety of others.
When a murder, robbery, or sexual assault victim could have been protected from the crime if only a property owner took reasonable steps to provide adequate security, justice demands that the negligent person is held accountable.
The Hannon Law Group is committed to serving clients who suffered injuries in cases of negligent security. Let our personal injury lawyers fight for your right to be fully compensated. Contact The Hannon Law Group for a free consult by clicking here.