How many times have you visited a shopping mall, cinema hall, or an office building in the past one month? Maybe several times – but, did you ever take a look at the security measures in these buildings? Did you ever think twice before entering the premises? We often take for granted that the premises will be secure enough and we’ll have a pleasant experience inside. But it is not always so.
There have been instances of security violations quite often. A number of cases that deal with injuries due to negligent security have been reported across the country. People often get raped, molested, or murdered by third parties in commercial or residential premises where not enough security has been provided.
If you or your loved ones have sustained injuries due to negligent security, who is to be blamed? Who should be held liable for the injuries or damages? The answer is not always easy. In such cases, you must obtain legal counsel to understand who is liable and whether or not you have a case. However, you also need to understand what negligent security is and how to handle the case.
What is Negligent Security?
In the U.S., establishments have a duty to keep visitors safe; this duty includes providing sufficient security on their premises. Negligent security is a subset of premises liability and a negligent security claim is a form of basic negligence. The injury in a negligent security case may result from rape, assault, robbery, or battery of the victim.
A person suffering from injuries due to negligent security can file a case based on the duty imposed on property owners and tenants to offer reasonable security and protect lawful visitors from foreseeable crimes. Negligent security assumes that the crime may have been prevented or made less likely by providing sufficient basic security. However, the duty of the property owners or tenants varies; if you have sustained injuries due to negligent security, you need to consult a lawyer and plan future recourse for handling the case.
Negligent Security Cases – Know Your Rights
Negligent security cases can be filed against security companies, management companies, and owners of properties for providing inadequate security and failing to protect lawful visitors. Some instances of inadequate security are not having security guards, inadequate lighting, not employing trained security guards in areas with high crime rates, not having a protective fence or gate, and so on.
You may be able to file a case if:
- You had been invited to someone’s property (as a guest, customer employee, or visitor) and got injured due to negligent security.
- You visit a commercial premise such as shopping mall, office building, hotel, or garage, and get injured due to inadequate security.
However, in order to recover damages, you need to prove liability and negligence on part of the property owner. This means you need to prove the following three elements:
- Duty of Care: The property owner is responsible for the visitor’s safety and to protect visitors from foreseeable acts of crime. Establishing this duty of care is very important to win a negligent security case. For instance, a shopping mall or a hotel has the duty to protect its visitors on its premises.
- Breach of Duty: After establishing the duty of care, the plaintiff needs to prove that there had been a breach of duty (the defendant failed to provide enough security in this case). The breach of duty can result from negligence or due to careless action. For instance, a shopping mall may be held liable for the criminal activities if management fails to employ trained security personnel.
- Causation of Injury: Finally, you need to prove that the breach of duty was the cause of the injuries. You need to provide enough evidence and details that will prove that your injuries were caused due to the negligence or careless actions of the property owner.
Once you establish the liability of the at-fault party in a negligent security case, you may be able to recover the damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the exact amount that you will be able to recover will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
What to Do after You Have Suffered Injuries Due to Negligent Security
If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property due to negligent security, here is what must be done to take legal actions against the negligent property owner:
- Call the police and the medical team. This ensures you get the required medical attention and the police can try to track down the person who committed the criminal act.
- Inform the property owner immediately. You should not, however, comment on the security measures or record any statements when informing the property owner about the incident.
A victim of crime due to negligent security is eligible to recover damages for his or her personal injuries and losses upon proving negligence on the part of the property owner. Negligent security cases can be complicated; hence, you need to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you prove the various elements of a negligence case.
Whether you have been injured on a residential or a commercial premise, you need to take immediate action to recover the damages.
Author Information: Nicky Gomez is an administrative support at Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. She has experience assisting lawyers in personal injury & negligent security cases.