There’s a story about someone being beaten, stabbed, or shot in a nearby apartment complex, at a local gas station, or even in a business office every day. Victims rely on the criminal justice system to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable for their crimes when situations like this occur.
However, there are other steps victims can take they may not know about that relates to negligent security. The victim may be able to file a claim against the management entities (or the company that provided security for the property or the property owner) and receive compensation. However, negligent security cases are complex, so it’s so important to hire an attorney with prior experience handling these legal situations.
Negligent Security and Premises Liability
It’s possible to pursue a negligent security or premises liability claim against property owners, security companies, and management companies of a property where a foreseeable crime occurred or if they failed to prevent the occurrence of dangerous conditions.
The property that is responsible for “managing” the property in question could be the property manager, landlord, or owner. Unsafe conditions may arise from things like no warning for visitors about potentially dangerous conditions or because of a lack of maintenance. In these situations, the manager is liable for injuries that occur due to their negligence.
A Business’s Responsibility to Provide Reasonable Security
Owners or managers of a property are typically considered responsible for patron safety and anyone else on their premises. This responsibility may result in liability if the owner or manager does not provide a reasonably secure and safe environment.
If you break things down, two main things may be beneficial in proving liability for the manager or owner of a property.
The first is if there is a prior history of criminal activity around or on the property. This fact can help you prove your case. After all, a history of criminal activity means that the proprietor, operator, or owner should have known there as an imminent danger. Because of this, they are required to provide security for those who are on-site.
The second is if the business is one that is known for attracting crime. This includes places like a gambling establishment or bank, for example. It is reasonable to assume that more security measures should be put in place in these situations. Also, if these are not in place, it may mean that the owner was negligent in some way.
A Negligent Security Overview
When you go out to a public place, such as a movie theater, club, park, or even a gas station, you expect the owner to ensure the location is safe. This falls under a part of the law that is referred to as “premises liability.” According to this law, property owners can be found liable for any damages on their property if it can be proven that the owner’s failure to provide reasonable security led to the harm.
When you begin looking into examples of negligent security, you will usually find they involve criminal acts that are committed by someone besides the proper owner or manager. In a negligent security case, the argument is that the injury or harm you suffered could and should have been prevented if the property owner had conducted the proper due diligence by ensuring reasonable security measures were present.
Some of the crimes that may result in negligent security claims include:
- Sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape
- Assault and battery
If you or someone in your family is the victim of one of these crimes, you may want to consider if negligent security played a role in the situation. If so, then you can file a negligent security claim. When you aren’t sure if you have the right to pursue legal compensation for your situation, talking to a negligent security attorney is highly recommended. They can review the facts of your case and ensure the proper steps are taken to help you recover the damages you deserve.
Common Examples of Negligent Security
It is important to remember the examples listed here depend on the facts and circumstances of the situation. While this is true, there are some red flags you should be aware of.
If you have a case like the circumstances listed below, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have a case worth pursuing. However, it is good to consult with a negligent security lawyer to find out for sure.
Some of the common security examples that may result in negligent security claims include:
- A general lack of security. This includes things like improperly secured doors, unmonitored access to the property, unpatrolled parking areas, and dark areas.
- Irresponsible or inadequate training or staffing. Includes guards who don’t make proper rounds or if they are inattentive or non-responsive, or if there is no one at the entry or front door as expected. Also involves improper screening or failure to screen new employees properly.
- Inadequate equipment. Involves issues like broken automatic locking windows and doors, door locks, and security cameras.
- Inadequate or improper lighting. This includes malfunctioning or broken bulbs or lighting, or if someone doesn’t leave the lights on long enough to prevent issues.
- Poor access control. Cases involve missing or broken locks on fences and gates, failing to use existing games, lack of monitoring, and failing to use the controls reasonably.
- Overgrown landscaping: Plants may create hiding places or obscure and even damage security and monitoring equipment.
- Emergency warning systems that are broken or malfunctioning. Includes broken or non-working metal detectors and alarms.
- Inadequate or improper monitoring or screening. In these situations, it involves the failure to search for weapons and have the right security personnel at the right locations, like a bounder at a bar entrance and someone at the front desk of a hotel.
It’s worth mentioning that the factors above will not make your case alone. Instead, you must have evidence that one of these things resulted in harm or injury. The information above should give you an idea of some of the most common contributing factors to negligent security cases.
The actions of the property owner, operator, or manager will be considered and compared to the standard of what a “reasonable person” would do if it is believed they acted negligently based on the facts of your case.
Common Victims of Negligent Security
Some of the most common victims of negligent security include:
Surviving Family of Murder Victims
If someone is murdered, the deceased individual’s family members may have the right to file a negligent security case. The official name of these claims is a “wrongful death lawsuit.” With this type of case, you have something like a traditional personal injury case. The main difference is that the family of the murdered individual files it since they cannot file it for themselves.
Property owners can be negligent in murder cases like the way they are in other personal injury situations. Poor maintenance of the on-site security equipment, subpar security measures, no security guards or police presence, and other types of preventable factors can work together to make a location unsafe. If property owners don’t take the proper reasonable measures to prevent a murder from occurring on their property, they can and usually will be held liable for the result. If you have a family member who was killed on business property, it’s best to call an attorney to schedule a consultation.
Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, and Rape Victims
Just like with assault-related crimes and shootings, all businesses owe a duty of care to patrons to ensure reasonable precautions are taken against sexual crimes that have the potential to occur. The precautions required are like those for other crimes. This includes things like visible and properly maintained security cameras, proper lighting in alleys, hallways, and entranceways, a visible security force (i.e., security guards), and well-maintained and clearly visible security cameras.
If a business does not ensure that there is a reasonable degree of security to prevent sexual crimes, it can be held liable if this type of crime occurs. If you or someone in your family is the victim of a crime while on business premises, you may have the right to seek legal compensation and eventually receive negligent security settlements. It’s best to speak to an attorney to know for sure if your case is worth pursuing.
Assault and Battery Victims
Assault is usually defined as any action that causes reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact. This means that assault occurs when someone intentionally causes someone else to believe they will be harmed. Battery occurs if intentional harmful contact occurs.
It’s the responsibility of businesses to make sure patrons are not a victim of assault and battery. Many businesses, like clubs and bars, where the possibility of these incidents is high, must maintain proper security on-site to make sure incidents don’t occur. If they do, they are broken up quickly.
With that in mind, every business has the duty to take reasonable steps to prevent cases of assault and battery. A fight can occur almost anywhere, and each business must ensure these situations do not occur too often and when they do, that they cause minimal harm.
Shooting situations can occur as an isolated incident or as a mass shooting. In both situations, the business has the duty of care to make sure patrons have a safe environment. This may include providing security guards, security cameras, lighting hallways and entrances, and other security measures.
The truth is that violent acts occur all the time. There are also limits on what some businesses can do to help ensure patron safety. In many cases, what is considered reasonable precautions often depends on the nature of a specific business. While this is true, businesses must provide patrons with a reasonable degree of safety. Because of this, all shooting victims should talk to a lawyer to determine if they have a negligent security case.
Situations When You Can File a Negligent Security Claim
While the situations above indicate when you can file a negligent security claim, knowing more specifics about these situations can be beneficial. After all, it is up to the victim and their attorney to provide proof that the property owner did not provide reasonable security that could have prevented the incident that resulted in harm. In these situations, the establishment may be considered liable.
Some examples of these situations include:
- Basic security measures: Determining if proper security measures were in place depends on the type of establishment where the situation occurred. For example, apartment buildings have different security needs than nightclubs.
- Causality: It must be proven that the harm the victim experienced resulted from the security breach. For example, if a broken lock resulted in an attack on a resident, then this is likely a negligent security case.
- Injury to property or body: If the victim was harmed physically or if their property was stolen or damaged, then filing a negligent security claim may be necessary.
Potential Compensation for Negligent Security Cases
When a crime results from negligent security, the victim or victim’s family may be due compensation for several types of injuries or losses. Some of the most common types of compensation you can receive for a negligent security claim include:
- Crimes often include physical harm and injuries that result in extensive medical bills. The victim of this type of crime can file a lawsuit to receive financial compensation for these types of losses.
- Emotional or physical aspects of the crime or assault may start to interfere with the victim’s ability to work and earn a living for themselves and their family. In this case, a victim can sue for the loss of income and future earnings.
- If someone has lost their life, family members can file a premises liability lawsuit against the at-fault party and receive damages for wrongful death.
- Sometimes, the events of a negligent security claim are terrifying. This can result in flashbacks for the victim and ongoing psychological issues that impair their ability to enjoy life or function like they used to. It may be possible to recover financial compensation for needed therapy and to help compensate for the pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other psychological issues the victim experienced.
The amount of compensation a victim or victim’s family can receive depends on the nature of the incident, degree of liability, and the impact of the loss and damages. It is best to consult with an attorney to know for sure what your negligent security claim may be worth.
Common Locations Responsible For Negligent Security
If you are injured because of negligent security, holding the liable party responsible is a must. Some of the entities that may be held responsible for these situations include:
- Gas stations. Improper lighting, lack of security cameras, improper number of employees, and a limited or lacking view of gas pumps by employees are foreseeable hazards for visitors to gas stations that may lead to potential injury or harm.
- Parking garages and parking lots. These areas need to be properly lit and have security guards and call buttons (in some situations).
- Nightclubs and bars. These are locations where fights are common and likely. It’s necessary to utilize reasonable security measures to protect the patrons. These can include things like bouncers, metal detectors, and other security measures and personnel.
- Apartment buildings. Building owners must provide a reasonable amount of security in all the common areas on the property. This includes things like call buttons, gates, and security cameras.
- Amusement parks. All amusement parks need to be properly lit and have security guards and call buttons when necessary.
- Colleges. Universities and colleges are required to take steps to protect everyone on campus by implementing things like access control systems, warning systems for dangerous activities, emergency call buttons, and security guards for things like large campus gatherings.
- Hospitals. It’s possible to prevent attacks with reasonable security measures in place and by ensuring staff is properly trained on what to do if an incident occurs. In some cases, having controlled access will be beneficial.
- Schools. Secondary, elementary, and preschools also have the responsibility of keeping everyone on-campus safe. Safety measures include resource offers, requiring identification to enter a building, and locked doors.
Hire an Experienced Negligent Security Attorney for Help with Your Case
If you believe you are a victim of a negligent security situation, you have rights. However, since these cases can be extremely complex, it is best to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. This will help ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to for the injuries or damages you experienced. The right attorney will work to gather evidence and ensure a strong case is built on your behalf to help you hold the responsible party liable for the situation.
Our legal team is ready to help with your case. With decades of experience representing victims of negligent security, our team will work hard to help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. The first step in this process is to reach out to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your case and create a plan of action to move forward.