Does Florida Law Prevent Injured Robbery Victims from Filing Claims Against Convenience Stores?
The law does offer some exemptions for convenience stores when robbery victims suffer injuries on the premises. However, there is no universal convenience store exemption. If a store does not meet strict security requirements, victims can hold the owners liable for criminal acts that occur on the premises.
Recognizing that about six percent of all robberies known to police occur at convenience stores, Florida legislators instituted detailed convenience business security requirements, which include the following:
- Security devices such as security cameras, well-lit parking lots and signs announcing that cash registers have $50 or less
- Low-tint windows with signage that does not prevent store employees from maintaining a clear line of sight outside of the store
- A silent alarm that communicates directly with police or a private security agency
- Between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., a two-employee minimum on duty, plus at least one additional security measure — such as bullet-resistant equipment, a security guard or business conducted through indirect pass-through devices or windows — are required if a prior criminal act has occurred on the premises
Of course, during the confusion and chaos of a criminal act, victims cannot check to see if the store was properly equipped for security — especially when they are left injured and must seek medical attention. Additionally, even if a victim notices security cameras and other devices or lights in the parking lot, those measures may not meet legal requirements or be fully operational. As soon as all immediate medical needs have been addressed, victims should consult an attorney who can investigate the details of the act and the convenience store’s attempt to preempt it. If the establishment’s owners did not take appropriate measures to provide safe premises, they could be found liable.