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Florida Personal Injury Lawyers / West Palm Beach Negligent Security Lawyer

West Palm Beach Negligent Security Lawyer

Have you been injured due to a criminal act? Obviously, the criminal can be held both civilly and criminally liable for their actions. But if the crime occurred on someone else’s property, you may have grounds for taking legal action against the owner for negligent security.

The laws governing negligent security have recently changed in Florida. A qualified West Palm Beach negligent security lawyer can review your case and advise you of how the current laws may entitle you to compensation. Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather is a team of dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys who represent crime victims throughout Palm Beach County in seeking civil justice for their injuries and losses.

Recent Changes to Florida Law Impact Negligent Security Claims Against Residential Property Owners

As a general rule, an owner who invites members of the public onto their premises has a legal duty to keep the property reasonably safe from known hazards. This premises liability often deals with torts like slip and fall claims. But it can also extend to protecting members of the public against reasonably foreseeable criminal activities by third parties.

In March 2023, the Florida legislature enacted significant changes to the laws governing negligent security claims. In particular, the new law creates a presumption that the owner, owner or operator of a multi-family residential property–such as an apartment or condominium complex–is not liable for negligent security if they implement certain security measures. These measures include:

  • A security camera system that covers every point of entry and exit and has maintains recordings of video footage for at least 30 days;
  • A system to provide appropriate lighting in parking lots, walkways, laundry rooms, and other common areas from dusk until dawn.
  • At least 1-inch deadbolts in the doors of every residential unit;
  • Locking devices on all windows and exterior sliding doors;
  • Locked gates with key or fob access along pool fence area; and
  • Peepholes or door viewers on all residential unit doors (unless there is a window next to the door).

The new law also requires covered residential property owners to provide crime deterrence and safety training to its employees no later than January 2025.

Another key change to the law addresses apportionment of fault in negligent security cases. Previously, both a negligent property owner and the person who committed the crime were held “joint and severally liable” to a crime victim. This meant the property owner could be required to pay the entire amount of a judgment. Under the revised rules, a jury can now apply the state’s “comparative negligence” rule to apportion fault between a negligent property owner and the criminal actor.

Contact Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather Today

As recent changes to the law make clear, negligent security cases are complex and require a detailed understanding of a property owner’s obligations to protect members of the public from third-party criminal acts. Our experienced West Palm Beach negligent security lawyers can offer you valuable guidance in this area. Contact Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather today to schedule a case evaluation.