Florida’s sun-kissed beaches, resorts, and theme parks are world-renowned – which is why Broward County alone drew 118 million visitors in a single recent year. Tourism is the state’s No. 1 industry, and our restaurants, hotels, and other businesses profit handsomely from it. But with this comes responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect guests from foreseeable risks. Failure to do so, as a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can explain, can be categorized as negligent security and could be legally actionable if you’re harmed.
The broad definition of negligent security is a form of premises liability by which an individual who is injured by the criminal action of a third party can hold legally liable the owner or tenant of a property where the injury was inflicted. Typically, such injuries arise out of cases of robbery, rape, assault, or battery.
This is not to say there’s a potential civil claim for every criminal action. The question is whether you had a right to expect some degree of safety where the attack occurred – whether that was at a shopping mall or an office complex or an entertainment venue or a hotel. The people who own and control these properties are expected to have a basic understanding of the possible safety risks posed to their customers, and to take reasonable action to secure the premises and protect these individuals – particularly when (as in the case of the hotel) those individuals are paying customers.
As a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can tell you, prevailing on a claim of negligent security against a hotel requires proof that the crime could have been prevented – or at least made less likely – if the hotel owner or manager had used appropriate security measures. If the lapse in security happened due to the mistake of an employee, the hotel owner/employer can still be held liable under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, Latin for “let the master answer.”
Examples of Negligent Security at a Florida Hotel
There are many different scenarios in which an injured Florida tourist could sue a hotel for negligent security.
Some examples include:
- A guest is assaulted in the parking lot of the hotel, where there is poor lighting and no security personnel.
- A guest is sexually assaulted in their room by an assailant who gained entry due to insufficient locks, lack of security personnel, or with access gained through employment they never should landed due to a violent criminal record.
- A guest is injured at the hotel due to a large event where crowd control measures were inadequate.
This is far from an exhaustive list.
Essentially what we need to show is that the person who owned or controlled the property failed to use a reasonable degree of care in failing to protect guests against reasonably foreseeable criminal attacks. An attack is generally considered reasonably foreseeable if it occurs with regularity at that type of property absent security measures OR if it is known to have happened at that specific property or the neighborhood nearby – especially recently. We must also show the hotel knew or should have known of this risk and failed to adequately warn guests. If a guest is injured because of this breach of duty, the property owner/hotel can be liable to cover the cost of those injuries.
If you were a tourist at a South Florida hotel and were injured in a criminal attack while visiting, contact our offices for a free consultation to discuss whether you’ve got a case.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
More Blog Entries:
“Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?” Broward Injury Lawyer Offers Insight, Oct. 10, 2023, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Blog