Who’s Liable for Injuries Caused by Criminal Acts at Convenience Stores?
Owners of business establishments have a duty to ensure a safe environment for their customers and visitors, and owners of convenience stores are no exception. If you were injured due to a dangerous condition or during a criminal act at a grocery or convenience store, you could be entitled to compensation if you can prove that the store owner or their employees were negligent.
What is Negligence Under Florida’s Premises Liability Law?
Under the Florida Statutes Section 768.0755, owners of business establishments owe a duty of care to their guests, customers, and visitors. Elements of reasonable care include:
- Maintaining a safe environment free of hazards;
- Warning customers of unforeseeable hazards;
- Taking reasonable steps to remedy hazards; and
- Conducting an inspection of the premises to identify potential hazards.
Under Florida’s premises liability law, a property owner is considered negligent when they breach their duty to exercise due care. Most premises liability cases are based on whether the customer’s injury was foreseeable or not.
If you became a victim of criminal activity at a convenience store, you could be able to seek compensation from the owner of the premises if you can prove negligent security measures. When a customer or visitor is injured due to the owner’s negligence in maintaining adequate security measures, the owner can be held liable for the criminal acts of third parties on their premises.
Duties and Obligations of Owners of Convenience Stores in Florida
Florida Statutes Sections 812.173 and 812.174 impose duties and obligations upon owners of convenience stores to protect their visitors and customers from criminal acts committed by third parties on the premises.
The owner of a convenience store has the following duties and obligations:
- Ensure that their security camera system is capable of recording and obtaining clear images to assist in the identification of offenders;
- Install height markers at the store entrance to display height measures;
- Ensure that the building does not have window tinting that reduces view in a normal line of sight;
- Have cash management devices, such as a drop safe, to limit access to cash receipts;
- Have a notice at the entrance that warns that the cash register contains $50 or less;
- Install adequate lighting in the parking lot;
- Have window signage that does not obstruct physical identification of persons in the sales transaction area or near cash registers from outside the building;
- Install a silent alarm to law enforcement or a private security agency; and
- Implement a cash management policy that limits the cash on hand at all times after 11 pm.
Additional Requirements for Convenience Stores with Past Incidents of Crimes
Also, Florida’s premises liability law has special requirements for convenience stores with a history of crimes. Such stores must take additional security measures such as providing at least two employees on the premises between 11 pm and 5 am and installing a secured enclosure of transparent polycarbonate or other material that meets statutory standards.
These additional requirements apply to convenience stores that have had an incident of certain crimes, including aggravated battery, robbery, sexual battery, kidnapping, or false imprisonment.
Contact a Miami negligent security lawyer at Pita Weber Del Prado if you were injured during a criminal act committed by a third party at a convenience store. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 305-670-2889.