When hearing the term “premises liability,” most people would think of something like a slip-and-fall accident in the grocery store. The idea behind premises liability is that property owners are responsible for mitigating dangerous conditions that might cause harm to others who visit their property. This is especially true of commercial properties like shopping malls and hotels.
There is also a lesser-known concept in premises liability that often results in much more harm to victims. It is known as “negligent security.” When a business located in a dangerous area or known to have a history of crime fails to employ and utilize appropriate security measures, guests can become victims of violent crime and the property owners may be held liable in civil court.
A tragic example occurred earlier this summer at a resort in Florida. According to news reports, a 22-year-old man and his cousin were both shot when a gunman came to the hotel where they were visiting someone else and opened fire. The young man was killed and his cousin was seriously injured.
The two victims were attending a party at the hotel hosted by the deceased victim’s brother, who was an employee of the hotel and – on that night – also a paying guest. He has since quit his job because he can no longer continue to be at the site of the horrific crime.
If this were an isolated incident, the hotel may have been absolved. But news sources say this hotel has been a hotbed of criminal activity for quite some time. Police and other emergency responders are regularly called to the property. Despite this, critics say, the hotel failed to implement better security measures that could possibly have prevented this tragedy.
Property owners are typically not liable for incidents that they could not have foreseen or for hazards they haven’t had time to address. But by all accounts, this hotel seems to have had plenty of time and warning yet chose not to act. As such, they may soon be found liable for both personal injury and wrongful death.
If you have been injured on private property due to negligent security or a different preventable hazard, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact our firm to discuss your legal options with an attorney today.