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Negligent Security and Maintenance

When people think about premises liability cases, they usually think about slip and fall cases. There are other grounds for liability though. Negligent security and negligent maintenance are two theories that can establish a property owner’s liability under premises liability. These theories are not too difficult to understand but can be difficult to prove. Having the right attorney will make all the difference in winning a negligent security or negligent maintenance case.

Lawyer for Negligent Security and Maintenance Premises Liability in Florida

If you have been injured on someone’s property and it was preventable, know that you don’t have to try to recover on your own. Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are compassionate and experienced personal injury attorneys that will do whatever they can to help you get back on your feet when an accident happens. Negligent property owners should be held liable when they fail to care for the safety of guests.

Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys serves the wider Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Coral Gardens, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, and Cutler Bay, and are ready to take your call at (305) 709-0880 to evaluate and discuss your case.

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 Florida Negligent Security and Maintenance Information Center

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Negligent Maintenance

The majority of premises liability cases are due to a dangerous condition of the property going unaddressed. The most common condition is a slippery floor that causes a person to fall. The most common culprits are business owners who fail to maintain their property properly. Business owners have the additional burden of performing inspections to discover hazards that could injure their invitees. Put another way, a business owner is liable for hazards he or she should have known about, the same as for things he or she actually knew about. The list below contains common hazards that a property owner is responsible for repairing:

  • Slippery floor conditions that can cause falls
  • Broken/Uneven Sidewalks or stairs
  • Staircases with missing or broken handrails
  • Inadequate or malfunctioning lights
  • Obstructions in aisles or walkways
  • Obstructions or debris on sidewalks
  • Dogs that can bite
  • Merchandise that is displayed negligently
  • Merchandise on the floor

There are of course defenses to a suit for negligent maintenance. The burden of proving fault is on the person claiming injury after all.  The most obvious defense is that the property owner did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard. For instance if there is a spill and then within a matter of seconds after the spill occurred, the plaintiff slipped and fell because of it, it could be argued that the defendant property owner could not have found the hazard in time even with reasonable inspection and care.

If the hazard is “open and obvious,” liability may be mitigated if the plaintiff did not act appropriately to defend themselves. This does not mean that the property owner escapes liability all together. The property owner still has to reasonably maintain the premises. So for instance, if there is a marked and visible oil spill and someone slips and falls stepping into it during the day, the person that slipped and fall still has a duty to protect themselves. If a property owner leaves an oil spill in the middle of their store for three days, however, the owner would likely be found to be in breach of their duty of reasonable care.

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Negligent Security

Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises which includes a duty to offer reasonable security measures and protect lawful visitors from foreseeable crimes. Property owners may be held liable for crimes committed by third parties on their property such as;

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Robbery
  • Rape

Again, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove negligence and that burden can be rather difficult. The key is proving that a crime was reasonably foreseeable and that the property owner did not warn or secure the premises against that foreseeable crime.  Foreseeability does not mean that the property owner must use a crystal ball or enlist a psychic. To prove that crimes were foreseeable, there must be some evidence that, through past experience, the nature of the business, or the location, the owner should reasonably anticipate future crimes. Take for example a grocery store where someone is robbed. If the surrounding area has had a spate of high profile robberies over the past couple of months and is known to be a bad area, then a court could find the owner should have foresaw the crime and offered adequate security.

What constitutes adequate security can vary depending on premises type. For instance, since a student living in a dorm can only protect themselves so much they will need to rely on the college to provide adequately lighting and security personnel so that they can walk back from the library safely. Some businesses, given their nature, are required to have very specific types of security measures. In Florida, convenience stores much have security cameras, a drop safe, a well-lit parking lot, height markers at the door, and silent alarms among other requirements. Additionally, the Florida Statutes increases the required security measures if a murder, robbery, sexual battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping or false imprisonment occurred on the premises.

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Negligent Security Resources

Required Security Measures for Convenience Stores – The link here will take you to the Florida Statute regarding what security measures every convenience business needs to be equipped with. Most businesses do not have specific codified requirements for security but due to the increased risk of crime associated with convenience stores the Florida legislature has seen fit to create laws to curb crimes at these types of establishments. While most requirements were listed above, following the link will allow you to see the additional requirements after a violent crime has occurred on the premises.

Miami-Dade Crime Incident Map – The Miami Police Department provides a map through, crimemapping.com, showing the location, type, and date of crimes that happen all over the county. It also shows charts and trends related to crimes in the area. Miami is not the only city covered, most major cities have similar maps on the website.

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Negligent Security Attorney in Miami Beach, FL

Unfortunately, people are injured by the negligence of property owners every day in Florida. You can be injured or be a victim of a crime if a property owner isn’t upholding his duty of care. If you or a loved one was injured by the negligence of a property owner, you need to find an attorney with trial experience who has compassion for what you are going through. The attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are lawyers dedicated to their clients. We will do whatever we can to help out innocent victims get back up on their feet. Call us today at (305) 709-0880 and make an appointment for a consultation and case evaluation. We serve the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Coral Gardens, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, and Cutler Bay, and are standing by to help.

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