How To Prove Negligent Security and Win a Premises Liability Case

man installing a security surveillance camera

When an establishment or place of business expects visitors, it should also have the means to ensure everyone’s safety. If not, someone might get injured because of various factors. One of these is criminal activity. When a person gets robbed, assaulted, or even murdered on a person or company’s premises, the victim or their loved one could file a premises liability claim.

For the victim or plaintiff, this means proving negligent security is what led to their injury. They must establish that the property owner or defendant didn’t have enough measures in place to ensure that visitors were safe from criminal acts. Proving this negligence can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with the processes or steps involved.

That’s where we come in at The Pagan Law Firm. We are your trusted New York premises liability lawyers, ready to assist with your case. To orient you about proving negligent security for your premises liability claim, here’s a guide with all that you need to know. Keep reading to learn more about this type of case.

What Is Negligent Security and What Are Some Examples?

Negligent security is a type of premises liability. Instead of hazards and unsafe conditions that cause accidents on a property, this one focuses on the lack of measures that prevent criminal acts from happening. These incidents can result in grievous harm to visitors of both residential and commercial properties. Those who suffer injuries from these preventable crimes can get compensation by filing premises liability claims or premise liability lawsuits.

For a premises liability claim, settlements can be usually handled through negotiations between the property owners and their insurance company, and the injured party. Escalating this to a premises liability lawsuit means bringing the case to court. That way, a judge or a jury can decide on the property owner’s negligence or if the visitor deserves compensation.

So, what constitutes a visitor? The answer is important because of a term called “duty.” We’ll discuss this later, but for now, let’s break down the types of visitors that can file a premises liability claim for negligent security.

Categories of Visitors


An invitee is the type of visitor that’s entitled to the most care from property owners. They’re the ones who have permission to enter a property for business reasons. Some examples of invitees are the customers of a retail shop, contractors who need to perform repair or installation work, and delivery people who need to drop off food or packages.

If they suffer grievous injuries because of a criminal incident, then they can sue for negligent security. This type of visitor is entitled to the highest amount of compensation compared to licensees and trespassers. That’s why businesses must actively inspect their premises and ensure that they have enough security measures to protect their customers.


A licensee is a type of visitor that came to the property for a social or non-business reason. For example, a person who enters a grocery store to use the bathroom can be considered a licensee. Guests at a house, regardless of their relationship with the homeowner, are considered licensees.

To avoid liability, property owners must inform these types of visitors about any hazards on the property. This applies to general premises liability. They must also put up measures to protect licensees from criminal acts. If not, then they can be sued for negligent security. The compensation a licensee can receive is usually not as high as an invitee, however.


In New York City, trespassers are any type of visitor that enters a premise without any invitation. They might be illegally or legally on a property, but the owner did not provide explicit consent that these visitors were allowed on their land or establishment. For example, a hunter may trespass on a commercial farm while in pursuit of an animal. Take note that the criminal act of trespassing is different from this premises visitor classification.

In general, a trespasser is entitled to the least amount of compensation should they suffer injuries on someone’s premises. Sometimes, they may not get anything at all in a premises liability accident or negligent security case.

Depending on what type of visitor you are, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact The Pagan Law Firm to discuss if you have a valid claim.

Examples of Negligent Property Owners and Premises Liability Cases

To better illustrate the difference or injuries caused by negligent security versus unsafe premises, here are two examples of similar premises liability cases.

Case 1

An apartment complex is located in a place with a high crime rate, especially incidents of theft and robbery. The landlord should install fences, cameras, and adequate lighting to deter criminals. In addition, having regular security guards that can perform their duty adequately is a must.

The tenants, which are considered invitees in this case, can sue the landowner for negligent security if they fail to set up these measures. Of course, this is only applicable if they suffered injuries because of a criminal act like a robbery.

Case 2

For this example, we’ll take a look at a nightclub that also doesn’t have proper security measures. Their CCTV cameras don’t work. Their exits are narrow and dimly lit. Finally, they don’t have guards to keep peace and order. But this time, it’s a fire that occurs instead of a crime, and many people are injured because of the chaos and lack of proper evacuation protocols.

In this case, the clubgoers or invitees can sue for other types of premises liability cases and not negligent security. However, this can change should the fire be proven to be arson instead of a regular accident. The visitor sues the establishment for failing to screen people and detect who might be carrying volatile or flammable substances used for the criminal act.

The key similarity between these two is that a preventable crime occurred, and the property owner wilfully or ignorantly didn’t put up measures to prevent it. Their negligent approach to security made them liable for a personal injury case. The more challenging part for the injured party or plaintiff is proving that the defendants are negligent property owners. For that, you’ll need an experienced premises liability lawyer from The Pagan Law Firm to help you build your case. Contact us today!

How Do You Know If You Have a Premises Liability Claim?

To determine if your premises liability claim under negligent security has a chance for settlement or trial, here are four hallmarks that must be present.

There Was a Criminal Incident

The most important element of a negligent security claim is the crime. There should be one that caused someone an injury. Without it, it will be hard to prove that the owners were neglectful. If no crime occurred but you were still injured, then you can file another type of premises liability claim. Some criminal cases that can result in injuries and even death are:

  • Assault and Battery
  • Theft and Robbery
  • Mass Shootings
  • Sexual Assault
  • Murder

You Suffered Injuries

Another essential aspect of a negligent security case is that the plaintiff must be injured because of the criminal incident. You or a loved one must have experienced some sort of harm in order to get compensation for those injuries. These can include:

  • Head injuries like traumatic brain injury and concussions
  • Soft tissue damage like bruises
  • Broken bones and dislocated joints
  • Lost limbs
  • Wounds
  • Wrongful death

You Were on Someone Else’s Property at the Time of the Injury

The crime and your injury should have happened on someone else’s property for there to be a case. It doesn’t matter if it’s a residential or commercial property, as long as you suffered injuries while there and not before.

However, there are some exceptions to this. For example, if you live in an apartment building, your own landlord can be held liable for any injuries caused on the property. It is best to speak with a premises liability attorney from The Pagan Law Firm to discuss if you have a valid claim.

The Property Owners Were Negligent

If you have good reason to believe that the property owners weren’t able to provide adequate security measures or failed to warn you of possible crimes then you may file a premises liability claim. Of course, proving this is more complex than meets the eye. You’ll need expert premises liability attorneys from The Pagan Law Firm on your side.

How To Prove Your Case and What Evidence Do You Need?

If you’ve become a victim of an NYC premises accident, you’ll need to prove your case during settlement or in front of a judge or jury. It won’t be easy to do this on your own. You’ll need representation from a New York premises liability lawyer who’s had plenty of experience working on similar cases.

Prove That You Were Injured on the Premises

It may seem like a no-brainer, but providing hard evidence that you suffered after an incident or on someone else’s property is paramount to a premises liability case. For negligent security, in particular, you need to show evidence that a preventable criminal act caused you harm. You might also need to prove that the injury happened while you were on the premises and not somewhere else before.

As your premises liability lawyers, we’ll help you collect key evidence to prove your injury. We’ll also guide you in gathering documents that will help you get the compensation you deserve because of negligent property owners. This includes:

  • Medical Records and Bills
  • Video Footage
  • Expert Witness Testimony

Prove Breach of Duty

Under the law, legal “duty” has a very specific meaning. It refers to an obligation of someone to conform their actions to a particular standard for the benefit of certain individuals. In the case of property owners, their “duty” is to their visitors. Those who enter their premises must be kept safe, whether from criminal acts or hazardous spaces.

In New York premises liability cases, the “duty” owed largely depends on the reason why a plaintiff was on the property when they got injured. This is where the three aforementioned categories come in: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. As mentioned, property owners owe the most duty to invitees. Trespassers are covered with the least amount of protection in the state of New York.

This also means that you have to prove that you weren’t a trespasser. You’ll need to establish that you were either a licensee or an invitee. For example, those who were injured in swimming pool accidents, regardless of whether these were caused by hazardous premises or criminal incidents, must show a ticket, a club membership, or any other proof that they are invitees. The same goes for other types of establishments.

Once you’ve established duty, you must then prove that a property owner violated it. This is also called a breach. A breach comes in two types. First, the property owner or personnel failed to warn you of security issues. Second, they failed to resolve the security issues, which then led to a criminal act that caused the personal injury. Unresolved security concerns can include:

  • Dim lighting or lack of lighting for areas with reports of mugging
  • Lack of vetted security personnel for large or crowded venues where criminal activity is more likely to happen
  • Faulty fences, doors, and windows in apartment buildings and other residential properties
  • Lack of alarm systems or CCTV infrastructure

Prove That Breach of Duty Caused Your Injury

Once you’ve proven that the defendant has a legal duty and that they breached it, you now establish that their violation is what caused your injury. You must show that the property factor that the owner or personnel could’ve addressed caused your injury. It may seem straightforward, but part is often the point of contention in many premises liability cases in New York City.

Prove Damages

Lastly, you’ll have to prove damages in your premises liability case. This means establishing the harm you suffered because of the breach of duty. This is one of the biggest determining factors of how much compensation you might receive for your claim. To maximize the amount, you’ll need the help of a trusted law firm with a proven track record of success to help you gather all the evidence necessary.

In New York City, the plaintiff must prove all the following elements in order to win the premises liability claim or lawsuit. In short, the burden of proof lies on the injured party, as with all other civil cases. This also falls under the preponderance standard. So, you must prove that there is a greater than 50% chance of the claim being true. That’s why you need an experienced New York premises liability lawyer from The Pagan Law Firm as your partner.

What Compensation Can You Receive for Premises Liability Cases?

All premises liability cases, including negligent security, entitle you to the following types of financial compensation. Keep in mind that not all of these may be applicable to your specific circumstances.

Medical Bills

Getting grievous injuries usually means needing medical attention and services. Unfortunately, receiving medical treatment or being hospitalized can be costly. The bills will pile up with surgery, medications, diagnostic tests, consultations, and other healthcare services. Thankfully, you’re entitled to compensation for medical expenses if you file and win a premises liability case.

Ongoing Therapy and Medication

There are some injuries that take longer to heal. You might need physical therapy, psychotherapy, and additional medication to address the issue and help you completely recover. All of these can be classified as permissible expenses and may be included in your premises liability claim.

Lost Wages

When you have broken limbs or a concussion, you won’t be able to report to your work and perform your duties. This loss of income or wages can be included in the settlement. In addition, future lost wages because of therapy appointments or recovery may also be included. This includes lost income because of a career change prompted by the injury.

Permanent Disability

Losing limbs, blindness, paralysis, and other types of severe injuries can take away your ability to earn a living. Any disability of this magnitude is classified as a permanent disability, and you might be entitled to an amount that will help you for the rest of your life.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is a type of noneconomic damage that’s meant to compensate for your emotional and mental anguish. You’re entitled to compensation for issues like PTSD, lack of sleep, loss of quality of life, and cognitive changes caused by the injury.

Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for death to occur during a crime, especially if the perpetrators use lethal force or weapons. If a loved one dies because of such an event, you may be entitled to compensation for burial and funeral expenses, medical bills, and loss of support or companionship.

To get the maximum amount of compensation for your premises liability claim, reach out to the Pagan Law Firm at 212-967-8202. We will fight on your behalf and get you the compensation you deserve.

Why It Is Important To Hire a Premises Liability Attorney?

Hiring an experienced New York premises liability attorney can be a critical step if you have been involved in an accident on someone else’s property. These attorneys understand the complexities of premises liability laws, which are constantly changing and vary from state to state. With their legal expertise and knowledge of the specific laws governing your situation, a premises liability lawyer will be able to strategize a unique solution for your particular case.

Knowledge of Laws and Legal Proceedings

New York premises liability laws are complex, both in language and processes. Those who don’t have any legal background will have a difficult time trying to understand what goes on when it comes to filing a case, gathering evidence, or negotiating a settlement.

Having experienced premises liability lawyers on your side is one way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Professionals like us understand the law and how it can be used for your best interests.

Access to Resources

If you work on your own, you might not have the right network and resources needed to build your case and win it during settlement or litigation. Working with a premises liability attorney resolves this issue. These professionals have the resources such as a vast network of other professionals. This is how they can gather evidence, gain insight into your unique case, and come up with the right arguments to help maximize your financial compensation.


When you’re injured, you may not have the physical or mental capacity to handle your case on your own. A premises liability case can also be taxing, especially processes like gathering evidence and litigation. Having NYC premises liability attorneys handle all these for you won’t just help you get compensation. It will also take the burden off your back so you can focus on healing and recovery.

Contact The Pagan Law Firm: Your Trusted Experts in Premises Liability Claims

Negligent security is one of the most complex types of premises liability cases. You’ll need to prove that private property owners were neglectful, allowing a criminal act to happen on their premises and injuring you in the process. If you or a loved one is a victim of such a scenario, you can seek help at The Pagan Law Firm. 

Our legal team is composed of experienced NYC premises liability lawyers who’ve taken on plenty of similar cases. We’re honest, hardworking, and determined to get you the compensation you deserve. Call now at 212-967-8202 to learn more or click here for a free consultation.

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