Liability and Negligent Security Issues After Shooting Incident in WPB
In early July, a 47-year-old woman was shot with a shotgun as she opened the door and tried to retreat inside of Las Brisas Sports Bar. According to WPTV, the shooting occurred following a verbal dispute and resulted in the woman losing her arm. The man who shot the victim has been arrested for attempted murder, while the injured victim tries to recover. The incident was caught on video tape and the camera footage clearly shows how events unfolded.
According to a subsequent WPTV story, however, the injured victim does not believe that the shooter was the only one who should be held responsible for the injuries she sustained. The victim is alleging that the bar shares responsibility as a result of having negligent security on the premises.
Our West Palm Beach injury lawyers know that bars, restaurants and other public establishments have a duty to protect their patrons from hazards. This can include the risk of crimes being committed.
Negligent Security and Criminal Acts
When a bar or a night club opens to the public, the bar has the obligation of ensuring that the space is reasonably safe for patrons. While this means that the bar has to do things like maintain the steps and railings and avoid having slippery floors, it also means that the business must ensure that visitors are not at high risk of becoming the victim of a crime.
If there is a pattern of criminal acts or if a bar or restaurant is in a high-crime area, then the establishment may be expected to take reasonable steps to prevent crimes from occurring or deter criminals from harming patrons. For example, if there are several muggings in a mall parking lot, then the mall might be expected to install security cameras, improve the lighting or even post a security guard in the parking lot to protect guests.
The specifics of what a business has to do, in terms of security, will vary depending upon the circumstances. A record of past crimes and crimes in the area will determine what is reasonable in terms of security, and the business will be assessed to determine whether it fell short of what should have been done given the risk of criminal acts.
In this case, therefore, the woman who was shot at the bar will need to demonstrate that the bar owner had reason to suspect that shootings or similar criminal wrongdoing would occur on the premises. Further, the victim would also need to prove that the negligent security was a direct or proximate cause of the injuries sustained.
If she is able to successfully prove this, she may be able to hold the establishment legally liable for the medical bills and costs of treating her arm injury as well as for other losses and damage endured in the attack.
If you've been injured due to negligent security, contact West Palm Beach injury attorney David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 for a free case review.