Last Update: 10/25/18
Sadly, South Florida has its dark side related to the crimes that occur here at our beach front bars and restaurants, in our waterfront hotels and condos, in our shopping malls, parking garages, office towers, airports, marinas, and on tour boats and cruise ships.
When crimes occur, the local law enforcement is on the scene to investigate, arrest, and charge the person (or persons) responsible for the crime. Unfortunately, Florida criminal courts do not provide the crime victim with an opportunity for justice insofar as the practical matters of medical expenses, lost wages, and real life injuries that are often the result of crime. The police don’t pay the victim’s medical bills, for example.
That is where the victim may find help by filing a Florida personal injury lawsuit.
When you are hurt in a crime in Florida, you may have a claim based upon Florida civil law which covers the damages that you have suffered as a result of the crime. Premises liability law may apply in your case, for example, as well as negligence, or intentional torts like assault. Crimes like rape, assault, murder, attempted murder, muggings, robbery, battery, and even domestic abuse can form the basis of a negligent security civil action.
Negligent Security and Crime Victims in Florida
For those who have been hurt while a guest at a hotel, on a cruise ship, in a restaurant or bar — or anyplace where they have been invited to come or where they are in the role of a guest, then Florida law may expand the defendants in their civil case to include not only the person who committed the crime itself but also those who own or operate the establishment where the crime occurred.
- For instance, someone hurt in a bar fight may have a premises liability negligent security claim against the owner and operator of the bar -as well as who threw the punch that broke their nose.
- Another example is a rape victim who may have a civil case for damages against the hotel that was the place where she was victimized by the rapist.
Negligent security cases allow crime victims to obtain money damages from sources that may have more ability to pay damages than the individual criminal and these money awards can include pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Criminal Proceedings Can Work to Help The Civil Case
Having a criminal proceeding dovetailing a civil case is not that uncommon. Moreover, it may be beneficial to the civil case. For example:
- There are instances where Florida law will block (or “collaterally estop” or “preclude the issue”) the defendant in the civil injury case from contesting certain fact issues because those facts have already been proven in the criminal matter.
- Criminal investigations into the crime itself may provide evidence to the plaintiff in the civil case that can be used without the need for the civil action to duplicate the effort (and expense).
- The criminal case may help advance settlement negotiations in the civil matter because the defendants recognize the likelihood that the civil case will provide additional public scrutiny of their actions (if their reputation is valuable to them) or will support a civil award because of strong evidence compiled by law enforcement during the criminal investigation.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed as a crime victim due to negligent security, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- Crime Victims’ Compensation in Florida: Money Provided for Florida Victims of Crime Who Are Injured and Hurt During Crime
- Crime Victim on Florida College or University: Have You or Your Child Been Hurt in a Crime on a Florida School Campus? Negligent Security Law for Florida Campus Crime
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.