Many public and private locations must provide security to those residing within. A violation of this often results in premise liability. The victim can take legal action against them with proof of negligence. When a location has the promise of security measures but fails to apply them, it could lead to danger. A crime may occur, leading to damages and injuries to the victims.
In the case of negligent security, it’s possible to file a claim against the property owners. However, knowing what to do is crucial. It is what a specialized property negligence lawyer from the Pagan Law Firm can provide. Assessing the risk requires experience and an understanding of the laws surrounding negligent security cases.
What Locations Fall Under the Negligent Security Clause
Negligent security happens in residential and commercial properties. Whether public or private, the owner must care for the people within. It’s especially true if it’s a type of business that employs or has patronage from the outside.
For example, hotels and apartment complexes fall under the property owner’s name. They can be accountable if they cannot care for their guests. In one case, the lack of security guards in a building led to theft. In commercial areas like malls and shopping centers, the business is also responsible for keeping its patrons safe. Other locations that fall under the possibility of negligent security include:
- Bars and nightclubs
- Parking garages
- Parks and playgrounds
- Hospitals and other treatment facilities
- Gas stations
Some other locations may not be listed here. Since there are hundreds of classifications, with new ones coming each year, it’s impossible to keep track. However, these locations are some of the most common cases where negligent security could occur. Others will have to be treated based on the circumstances surrounding it.
Who is Responsible for Negligent Security?
In most cases, the property owner is the one held responsible. However, there may be another entity involved that must uphold security measures. If this other party agrees to the responsibility, they may have partial or complete liability. Determining this depends on the case and how the court sees each party. Other entities that can be responsible include:
- Parking lot management
- Landscaping company
- Property management
- Private security
Duty Can Vary
Any negligent security lawsuit will attach to the property possessor or landowner. It is their duty to protect visitors from the possibility of crime and other threats. If there was a chance of preventing the event with proper security measures, there is a case on your hands.
However, the duties of business and property owners can be different. For example, some locations require security measures as danger occurring there is more likely.
Why make the property owner liable, not the criminal? There are cases where people opt to chase after the criminals instead. Others may recommend chasing after the property owner because they’re easier to locate and file a claim. When chasing after criminals, you may have to wait, and there is a chance that they flee after their crime.
There are also cases where you can opt to seek a claim against both, which will take even more resources. Most property owners have insurance to cover these events. You are looking to get coverage for the damages through the insurance company. For the most part, it will be them that the premises liability attorney will have to seek out.
Filing a negligent security case gives the patron or resident a chance. The victim can have a chance of recovering any lost value instead of waiting for something to happen as the police chase a criminal.
How to Prove Negligent Security
The plaintiff must be able to prove that the property owner did not provide reasonable care in negligent security. The event must also be foreseeable and the lack of security caused injuries or damages to the victim. You could solidify the case by citing previous criminal events or a lack of warnings.
The plaintiff must also show that they were on the property when the crime happened. Connecting the negligence, event, and damages is essential to the case.
One of the trickiest parts to proving all this is the issue of foreseeability. Finding a connection or predetermined knowledge is some of the most reliable ways of proof. For example, the parking garages have had several cases of assault and robbery. The court could rule that the crime was not foreseeable with no cases.
The court may also want to consider how much law enforcement has been in the area or location. If there were cases of many personal or property crimes there, it can strengthen the case.
What is Adequate Security?
Like negligent security, adequate security measures can have a broad definition because it depends on the case. In locations that often encounter criminal or violent behavior, there are protocols to follow. They should have trained security patrols when they have guests or patrons over. Apart from that, they should have the following security features:
- Functioning security hardware (locks and cameras)
- Proper lighting within the premises
- Security measures to prevent unwanted people from entering the property
- Adequate warnings or signage
If a business is unsure whether or not they have adequate security, consulting with an attorney can help. One who understands negligent security can point out all the flaws or missing pieces of the puzzle. That way, they can boost their security measures, and the property owner can be at peace knowing they have everything covered.
An evaluation may be necessary to finalize security. Courts only consider adequateness if a security measure reduces the risk of a crime. They also look into the other benefits that these security measures provide. The court may rule in favor of the property owner if they have installed security measures that led to a more favorable outlook from its guests.
Examples of Negligent Security
There are many ways to approach a case. Because of the circumstances that could take place, victims can often get confused as to whether they have something to pursue.
In some cases, multiple parties can be accountable for the negligence. We’ve handled premises liability cases where the employer and another business become involved in litigation. There are even cases where the city gets a negligent security lawsuit because it was their primary responsibility to care for the victims’ protection.
Here are some examples to give you a better idea of how these cases can happen. You may find that you can relate to it, or you can at least get an idea of how the court approaches negligent security.
Parking Lot Mugging
A plaintiff filed for a negligent security case as they sustained injuries at a mall’s parking lot. Several individuals approached him and then mugged him, stealing most of his personal belongings. If this was the first known case in the area, there might not have been any foreseeability to his claim. However, multiple muggings have occurred in the parking lot over the past year.
The lawyers discovered that the owners were aware of the muggings, and there was even news coverage about them. However, they did not take any action to try and minimize the chances of it happening again. The case noted that lighting was poor in the area, meaning there was a higher chance for criminals to hide in the darkness.
Because of the substantial evidence supporting the premises liability claim, the mall owners got a negligent security case. They failed to provide adequate and responsible security to the commercial property. Due to that failure, the plaintiff became a victim of a crime, sustaining injuries and losing valuables.
A college dorm room has strict protocols to keep unwanted guests free from wandering its corridors. Each visitor has to sign in with security and leave identification. Doors in the dormitory should always stay locked for the residents’ protection.
The plaintiff filed a case against their college, stating how management had inadequate security measures. One of the security guards recently went AWOL, leaving no one to cover several late night/early morning shifts.
One night, the door was left open because no one was present in security to check the locks. A criminal managed to get through the dorm’s entrance and broke into one of the rooms using a crowbar. The plaintiff reported that the thieves took money and many of their electronics that night. They did not encounter the thief as the plaintiff was visiting family during the weekend.
Evidence pointed to the fact that they enforced rules to protect the dormitory’s residents. There was also proof showing that management had failed to get a replacement security guard to cover for the shift the crime occurred. As thefts were common in the area, the plaintiff sought coverage for the damages, hoping to get enough to cover the stolen items.
A Nightclub Brawl
At a nightclub, security has to be tight, and there should be enough trained employees to help prevent violence. Alcohol can lower inhibitions, causing some people to get overly aggressive. A plaintiff filed a case because of assault from other patrons.
In this case, there was a claim that there were fewer security guards than standard. Since it was a weekday, management chose to instate fewer guards than usual. Further investigation revealed that those working that night also hadn’t received formal training. As such, when a brawl broke out, no appropriate actions were taken.
When several of the group went to the hospital with numerous injuries, one consulted with lawyers. They determined that there was a case of negligent security at the nightclub. Security could have stepped in when the other group instigated a fight, but no one had the proper training to de-escalate the problem.
Lawyers also pointed out how they have more staff with better training during the weekend rush. The plaintiff sought damages to cover their hospital bills, and several of the group could not return to work because of injuries, which also had to be compensated.
Office Building Robbery
Employees of a call center filed a case against their employer, citing negligent security. During one of the shifts, two armed robbers entered the premises and held several at gunpoint. They stole many items, including money, smartphones, jewelry, and other valuable possessions.
After investigation, we discovered that most of the property’s security cameras were not working. The security cameras were on display, but they were not functional. Because of that, the robbers entered the back entrance, getting into the office without anyone knowing. The investigation also showed that the office space lacked enough locking mechanisms to keep people from getting in.
The legal team representing the employees was able to connect the negligence quickly. Assisted by police reports, the proof that it led to the crime did not leave any doubt. The company’s insurance paid for damages after the judgment.
Injuries in a Negligent Security Case
Physical injuries are the easiest way to determine that the victim suffered because of negligent security. There must be proof that the injuries were genuine and connected to negligence. There must be a paper trail that connects them. Medical data from a hospital can suffice.
Emotional and mental harm can also have solid ground if there’s enough proof. However, it may be more challenging to approach compared to physical injuries. Experts may be necessary to validate the victim’s experience, and even then, the court will have the last say.
When Should I File a Negligent Security Case?
If you believe you have a negligent security case on your hands, consulting with specialists like us is essential. There are statutes of limitations when it comes to negligent security claims, and they can feel long. However, consulting with an expert team is in your best interest if you want to have solid evidence against the case.
The closer the investigation is to the crime, the better chances of finding negligence. If the victim decides to wait any longer than necessary, that window could eliminate any chances of finding proof. If the case had broken security cameras during the crime, the employer could install new ones, making it hard to prove the victim’s case.
The memories of any witnesses can also blur over time. The mind tends to forget details, which could be pivotal to pursuing damages.
There’s also a lot of paperwork involved with filing a claim or case. All these have deadlines and possible delays because of how fluid the system can become. Act quickly and decisively to ensure that you don’t get left behind or that the case doesn’t disappear.
There are several factors to consider when computing compensation for a negligent security case. Some laws can limit what you get, depending on the claim. Each case is unique, and you can never have a specific idea of what you get until after consulting with a lawyer. Even then, the final result can differ from expectations. When looking at damages, there are two main categories:
These are damages connected to financial losses that occurred because of the injury. The amount you’ll get will rise in proportion to the extent of your injuries and their possible future effects. Each injury will be carefully considered, especially how it can affect your life now and in the future. Some examples include:
- Medical care costs
- Current and future lost wages
- Inability to work
- Cost of future medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- And more
Punitive damages are the fees imposed on the negligent security property owners. The amount can also vary depending on the case, though state laws often limit how much one can charge. The amount you can get here depends on who is at fault and if negligence was entirely due to the lack of reasonable security measures.
What Do I Do After an Injury?
After an injury, the main priority is getting medical attention. Early treatment is preferential as it prevents you from aggravating any present injuries. Even if you don’t believe you sustained an injury, some injuries won’t appear until some time has passed. Having a professional check can reduce any chances of further harm.
From there, the next step is to call 911 or the police if they’re not already present at the crime scene. Documentation will be necessary for a case, and they’ll also track down the criminal responsible.
At the scene, you may find other witnesses. Get their contact information so you can have their statements supported later. Taking videos and photos of the scene can also help.
Sometime after the event, you may have a lawyer or associate of the property owner offering you to sign something. They’ll promise compensation and try to make it feel that the case was your fault. Redirect the conversation to your lawyer and avoid making any statements that could lead to them insinuating you were at fault.
Contact a lawyer from the Pagan Law Firm and explain your situation. After the consultation, they will become your representative and the main point of contact for any other negotiation.
Contact the Pagan Law Firm Today
You’ll want adequate compensation if you’ve suffered damages and injuries due to negligent security. That’s only possible if a legal expert helps you pursue a case and determine if you have something on your hands. You could go after a negligent property owner, prove your claim, and get needed compensation.
At the Pagan Law Firm, we’ve helped many victims of these types of crimes get the financial compensation they deserve from negligent property owners. Not only does this help their situation, but it also acts as a catalyst to prevent the same crimes from occurring again. Most property owners that have faced a premises liability lawsuit tend to make moves to ensure that the property owner’s negligence does not happen again.
The compensation you may gain can consist of money to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact The Pagan Law Firm in New York City today. Our team will guide you through the process and increase your chances of success.