The world became quite fixated on South Florida on February 14, 2017, when a 19 year old entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland with an assault rifle and murdered 17 students and educators. Gun control is a hot topic among liberals and conservatives alike, so it’s no surprise that in the immediate aftermath, both sides of the political sphere were quick to point fingers and make opposing calls for action.
Like Stoneman Douglas, it is important in the post-shooting discussion to investigate how it happened and why it happened in order to see if it was foreseeable and preventable, and to help prevent future incidents.
Negligent Security Claims
In the months following the shooting, extensive investigations revealed a number of failures to keep the students safe from the gunman. One of the biggest failures that day was the inaction of a Broward police officer stationed as a security guard at the school. The officer was aware of the rampage inside the building and chose to remain safely outside instead of performing his duties. Had he gone in like he was supposed to, who knows how many lives could have been spared.
Another major failure was a four minute tape delay in the school’s video surveillance. The SWAT team allegedly delayed charging into the building based on the belief that the killer was still at large and dangerous, while in the meantime he had fled the scene, leaving victims bleeding to death in the hallways while medical intervention awaited them outside.
Reports also revealed several apparent warning signs into the potential danger for the shooter prior to the incident.
These missteps at Marjory Stoneman Douglas may have cost 17 children and educators their lives, and injuring countless others. While a school shooting is a less likely event, security failure is not.
Prevalence of Negligent Security in Florida
Unfortunately, security and surveillance negligence is all too common. The failure of property owners to protect people on their premises is called negligent security. When property owners are negligent in providing adequate security to their premises, then they can be held liable for any injury or crime that occurs as a result.
In Florida, a property or business owner can be found liable for a person’s injuries that are the result of a violent crime when that owner could have reasonably foreseen such a crime occurring on their property. To be entitled to damages for negligent security in Florida, the plaintiff must show that the property owner had the legal duty to provide security to their premises, the security failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s harm, and that the plaintiff suffered actual harm as a result of the negligence.
Sexual Assault Claims
When a person is the victim of rape or sexual assault, the person criminally responsible is the assailant. In civil court, however, the property or business owner where the rape occurred could be held liable if he failed to protect those on the premises from such a violent crime. Say for example, a rape is committed in a dark hallway at a hotel with a history of crime in the surrounding area. There was no security camera, and because of the poorly lit hallway, no one witnessed the crime. The assailant may end up behind bars for his crime. Meanwhile, the victim may show in civil court in a claim that the hotel failed to protect her. Had there been a surveillance or a patrolling officer on duty, the rape could have been prevented.
Day Care Crimes
As parents, we try to do absolutely everything to ensure our children are protected and safe from harm. So many thoughts run through our heads as we drop our child off for their first day at school or daycare. Is he having fun? Is he playing nicely and making friends? Does he miss me? “Is my child safe?” should never enter the mind of a parent doing something as normal and routine as dropping their child off at school. Sadly, sexual predators sometimes target schools and daycare for employment, and devastating crimes against children are a result. Through an investigation, it might be discovered that the school failed to conduct adequate background checks and properly screen potential staff, allowing predators easy access to the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, our office has handled many civil claims on behalf of molestation victims.
Dram Shop Claims
Believe it or not, bar owners and alcohol vendors may be held liable in the event that a person is killed or injured in a drunk driving accident due to negligence. Dram Shop laws have been enacted in many states to protect others from drunk drivers. Failure to do so may result in civil liability. In Florida, if a vender sells alcohol to a minor or to a person that is a habitual alcoholic, he may be liable for damages if that person leaves the bar and kills or injures another as a result of his intoxication.
When a violent crime is committed, the victim or victim’s family is often caught up in the criminal proceedings. If you were injured in a violent crime which could have been prevented by better security or a loved one was killed, don’t hesitate to call a security negligence attorney. The Negligent Security attorneys at the Law Offices of Jason Turchin want to help you. Call us today at 1-800-337-7755 for a free consultation.