When visiting a friend at their apartment complex, or going to a concert, visitors should expect the premises to be safe. Property owners, whether of public or private venues, need to furnish appropriate security measures. Sometimes, though, they fail to do so and guests become victims of negligent security. In such cases, the property owners and, possibly, others could face liability issues.
The factual circumstances of negligent security cases can be complex, and the causes difficult for an untrained eye to identify. But, with the help of an experienced negligent security attorney, victims can prove liability for their injuries and collect the compensation they deserve. Read on for more information about negligent security cases and how victims can recover compensation.
Examples of Negligent Security
A business or property owner has the legal responsibility to keep visitors to their properties safe. They must ensure the premises are free of hazards and provide adequate security from crimes, such as robbery and assault. Generally, the kind of criminal activity for which they are legally obligated to provide security is the kind that was reasonably foreseeable given the totality of the circumstances.
When property owners fail to provide adequate security, victims suffer injuries, from cuts and bruises to head injuries and broken bones.
Examples of negligent security are:
- Broken locks. In places like apartment buildings, landlords need to implement sufficient locks. If they break, then the owner has to make sure the locks get repaired. When locks are in disrepair, anyone may easily enter units and harm people, and the landlord may be held liable.
- Untrained security guards. Some buildings require security guards to keep the area safe. When this is the case, guards must be trained adequately to respond to safety dangers. A guard given little or no training is likely ill-equipped to respond to dangerous activity.
- No security guards. Bars, clubs, and other similar venues create the need for security guards. These properties are often in areas with higher criminal activity. If no security is furnished, then an injured party could have a case against the venue.
- Inadequate lighting. The darkness can give criminals a layer of protection. Parking lots and garages need appropriate lighting to allow people to see and feel safe. Negligent security may take place if the property owner fails to keep the area well-lit.
- Lack of security systems. Security systems include alarms, cameras, and locking mechanisms on doors. If an owner does not have a security system appropriate under the circumstances, then a criminal may enter the premises unnoticed. The property manager also needs to maintain such security systems, such as repairing any broken cameras or alarms.
Who Is Liable for Negligent Security?
If you or a loved one got hurt in or due to negligent security, you might recover compensation. Who can you take to court? The main defendant is usually the property owner. It may also be someone who leases a property. Being careless, like failing to fix broken locks and fences, may create liability for a property owner or lessor. They typically profit from having visitors on their property and thus have a duty of care when it comes to your safety.
If your injuries were the result of inadequate security guards, you might file a claim against the security company. The security company is responsible for the education and training of its guards. The company might be held liable if you can produce evidence showing the guard had inadequate education or training.
Again, though, negligent security cases are complex, and the actors who may be held liable vary widely. Consulting with an attorney can be one of the best ways to make sure you go after all potentially responsible parties.
Does Negligent Security Apply to Public Property?
Yes. However, different rules can apply to public property depending on where you reside.
For example, to sue a government for an incident of negligent security in a government building, you often must send a special notice to the government within a tight time frame. You may have as little as 90 days after the injury to file the notice.
Claims involving public property are likely more complex than those of private property. You should consult an attorney if you have been injured due to negligent security on public property.
How to Prove Negligent Security
As in any civil lawsuit, you will need to produce evidence to prove the defendant is liable in your negligent security case. One requirement of negligent security cases is proving the property owner could have foreseen the crime or activity that led to your injuries. If they knew the area has a high risk of crime, the property manager could be liable. The standard is whether a reasonable person under similar circumstances could have predicted the security risk.
Building owners have a standard duty of care to understand the threats a visitor may face and provide security accordingly. Each type of property can have different needs. If the owner does not install proper security for the kind of property, you can argue they failed to meet the duty of care. The failure to maintain an existing protection can breach the standard of care as well.
You will also need to prove you suffered injuries and damages because of negligent security. After the incident, you should seek medical care, not only to get the treatment you need but to establish a record you need to show your injuries were caused by the incident. You can also collect evidence of cause by tracking down witnesses of the incident. Your medical records may serve as valuable evidence of causality and also of your damages, in the form of financial losses due to such things as medical bills and lost wages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a period during which you may file a negligent security lawsuit, and it begins the day of the injury. The deadline is different in each state. Contact a premises liability lawyer near you right away to ensure you don’t miss the deadline to seek compensation.
A person should not wait until the last minute to establish a claim. Regardless of how much time they have, the injured party can help their case in many ways by acting promptly.
How Long Does a Negligent Security Case Take?
Many negligent security cases can take a long time to settle or resolve in court. These cases depend on a lot of evidence regarding pre-existing security issues and a property manager’s lack of sufficient protection. Your lawyer will need time to collect documentary evidence like medical records and witness testimony.
A claim will take time to resolve. If the defendant refuses to pay fair compensation, the case could go to trial, which can significantly delay resolution, though the potential damages a victim receives from a court award may substantially increase.