When you walk onto a commercial property, it’s reasonable for you to assume that the owner has done all they can to keep you safe from foreseeable situations.
If the owner fails to do their part, you might have a premises liability claim. Negligent security is a form of premises liability, just like failing to keep floors free of water spots and slip hazards.
Learn more about negligent security and key details for how a lawsuit for this type of premises liability works.
What Is Negligent Security?
If a property owner fails to secure their property based on known hazards, they might be guilty of negligent security. For example, failing to have adequate outdoor lighting during evening business hours could make them liable for robberies or assaults that take place on their property.
Robbery and assault are the most common situations that occur when a property owner fails to maintain adequate security on their property. During these incidents, victims often sustain the following injuries:
- Concussions or other head injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
Sometimes the mental trauma from a robbery or assault could be far worse than the physical injuries. Anxiety, depression, or paranoia could accompany these incidents and drastically change the quality of life of the victim.
Sources of Negligent Security
There are several steps that property owners should take to protect the well-being of their visitors. Common sources of negligent security include the following:
- Poor or broken lighting, which can make criminals feel protected in dark situations.
- Lack of a security system, including security cameras, alarms, and locks on doors. Failing to complete regular maintenance and upkeep on these safety measures could amount to negligent security. If emergency doors are blocked, this could also be a source of negligent security.
- Missing security guards at locations that evidently need them, such as nightclubs or bars. Poorly trained security guards could also be a reason for a negligent security case.
How Does a Negligent Security Lawsuit Work?
During a negligent security lawsuit, you’ll need to prove several key elements in the case.
- The property owner had a responsibility to provide security measures for visitors to their property based on the property’s location, use, and format. And taking into account any previous activity on the property that resulted in another person’s injury.
- The property owner failed to provide adequate security measures based on industry standards, local standards, or known weaknesses as discovered through previous incidents.
- The victim’s injuries were a direct result of the property owner’s failure to provide adequate security coverage.
Evidence in these types of premises liability cases will often include showing photos or video of the property, highlighting similar cases or situations that have taken place on the property previously, demonstrating security measures other similar businesses employ, and witness accounts that describe the property’s security or what they saw at the time of the incident.
What’s Considered a Foreseeable Criminal Act?
History tends to repeat itself. So once a property or nearby properties have shown a vulnerability in security measures, property owners should make adjustments to protect visitors from future criminal acts.
For example, if a criminal activity takes place on or around a property, it’s reasonable to assume that it could happen again if the local property owners make no changes to improve their visitors’ protection.
One piece of evidence your attorneys will work to obtain will be previous criminal history in the surrounding area where you sustained injuries due to negligent security.
If you were hurt on someone else’s property, you should get a free case evaluation with Stewart & Stewart to determine whether you might have a negligent security or another type of premises liability case.