The most obvious liability lawsuits that can arise from being hurt on another person’s property are those concerning injuries caused by accidents, such as slip and falls. However, there are other ways in which people are injured on another’s property; for instance, they could be the victim of a crime. If this crime was facilitated by the premises’ lax security measures, crime victims may be eligible for compensatory damages.
What Is Negligent Security?
While property owners cannot be held liable for the actual crime committed against you, they can be held responsible if they failed to provide adequate security measures that would have prevented a foreseeable crime from happening in the first place. As long as a security measure is within reason, and its absence was a contributing factor to the crime, a lawsuit is a viable option for these victims.
Common examples of negligent security measures include but are not limited to the following:
- Proper door and window locks
- Sufficient lighting in dark places, such as entryways
- Adequate fencing
- Alarm systems
- Security cameras
- Security guards
That being said, the court will consider whether that area has a history of the specific crime you were subjected to when trying your case. For example, if muggings are a frequent occurrence in the back alley of an apartment complex, that landlord would be responsible for taking action to prevent those crimes from persisting, perhaps by hiring a security guard. On the contrary, if that apartment complex has only ever required basic locks to protect against theft, and was targeted by a highly skilled robber, there is a chance that the court will deem such a crime as unpredictable.
Which Properties Are Subject to Negligent Security Claims?
The type of property where the crime and/or injury happened is not of much importance, as negligent security claims can be brought against the owners of any property, such as apartment buildings, malls, convenience stores, college campuses, dormitories, office buildings, and another person’s private residence, among others. The law requires every single property owner to maintain a safe environment for their guests.
Can All Types of Property Visitors File a Claim?
While property owners have a legal obligation to provide adequate safety measures to visitors on their property, visitors do not automatically qualify for a case if injured. Plaintiffs in negligent security claims can be categorized into three groups:
- Invitees: This group consists of anyone invited onto a person’s property on the grounds that the owner will be met with financial gains due to their visit, whether expressed explicitly or not. Consumers, workers, tenants, and hospital patients are all considered invitees. Thus, it comes as no surprise that invitees make up the bulk of negligent security claims.
- Licensees: Social guests, house contractors, and any visitor invited onto a premise for a reason other than to provide money to the owner are considered licensees. Members of this group are likely to have grounds for a case because they had the owner’s consent to be there.
- Trespassers: Any person who was not invited onto the property, or is there without the landlord’s consent, does not have as straightforward a case as invitees or licensees might. Property owners are usually considered free of liability in regards to trespassers, but in some situations, trespassers may be granted a case.
How to Be Compensated as a Crime Victim
In order to be compensated, a crime victim will have to show that they were injured on another person’s property during a crime that could have been prevented by proper security. Additionally, the property owner must have failed to provide such security because of negligence.
This may sound simple, but plaintiffs in negligent security claims can be easily taken advantage of by the property owner or their insurance companies, especially when the property in question belongs to a large corporation. On one hand, they may deny your claim completely. On the other, they may agree that they are responsible and be willing to reach a settlement in lieu of going to trial. In this case, they may end up offering you a low settlement. In short, it is key to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to maximize your compensation.
Fortunately, our legal team at Dodd & Kuendig has experience in negligent security cases. Our practice operates on a foundation composed of passion, experience, and understanding. We know that on top of physical injuries, crime victims are also likely to suffer emotional and mental trauma. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders during this difficult time, and we want to help ease that burden.
Contact Dodd & Kuendig online to speak to a lawyer experienced in negligent security claims. Consultations are completely free, with no strings attached.