Every property owner is expected to maintain their buildings and grounds to ensure that tenants, customers, and visitors aren’t at risk from slip and fall injuries. Similarly, they are also required to provide adequate security measures to guarantee the overall safety of everyone that enters their premises. In spite of this, each year, many people across the country suffer from harm due to inadequate security.
Criminal activities can impact just about anyone. Injury in a negligent security case is due to robbery, assault, rape or battery. An injured person can bring on a negligent security lawsuit basis to impose duty on property owners and landowners, because it is their responsibility to protect lawful visitors and provide reasonable security measures for foreseeable crimes committed by any third party.
In negligent security cases, crimes and violent acts can be prevented by using the proper security measures. There has been a number of cases where residential as well as commercial landowners were sued successfully in negligent security incidents. However, their duties may vary. For example, a student that lives in a dorm room on college premises is not able to plan for adequate security at his or her dormitory. In this situation, it is the college campus’ duty to provide adequate security measures.
In another example, commercial tenants, such as ones that own retail businesses at a shopping mall ensure that their employees, customers, and other visitors are protected from foreseeable criminal attacks. A residential tenant may have a certain amount of control over what happens to their guests inside their apartment but protecting their guests in their complex’s parking lot may not be their duty.
Areas Where Inadequate Security Is Likely to Exist
Common spots where inadequate security can take place include:
- Parking lots
- Hotels, motels, or inns
- ATM machines and banks
- Apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Private residences
- Campus housing
- Parking ramps
One of the most common questions that many consider is: why sue the possessor or owner of the property and not the person that committed the crime? It’s easier for visitors to find the property owner or possessor rather than the person that committed the crime. It is likely that the possessor or owner will have insurance coverage. If so, the court can decide whether the affected individual can recover from the damages.
What Is Considered Inadequate Security
In order to be successful in a premises liability case, the plaintiff must prove that the owner or occupier of that property did not take reasonable measures to prevent the crime that occurred and the injuries the victim suffered. What is considered to be adequate security for that property will vary from one case to the next. However, some of the most common security measures for violent personal crimes include:
- Adequately trained security guards during business hours or when any guests are on the property
- Functioning security hardware like door and window locks or cameras
- Adequate and proper lighting
- Restricting handing out duplicate keys to various common areas of a residential complex
Examples of Negligent Security
When crimes like abduction, rape, assault etc. occur because of inadequate security, the property owner or possessor are held accountable. Here are some examples of negligent security:
- Failure to warn the visitors about any known dangers/risks
- Failure to install and monitor security cameras
- Failure to respond to an emergency call /security alert
- Failure to provide adequately trained patrol/security personnel
- Failure to maintain adequate illumination in dark areas
- Failure to fix damaged or deteriorated physical barriers, such as fencing, gates, doors or locks
- Failure to maintain the establishment’s overall appearance
Suing for Negligent Security
When suing for negligent security, the plaintiff must show that:
- The property possessor/owner failed to provide adequate warnings or failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent visitors from sustaining any injuries.
- They need to prove that the plaintiff was actually present on that property and that the property owner breached their duty to provide reasonable security.
- This breach caused the incident to take place.
- The plaintiff ended up suffering injuries that were preventable and foreseeable if the owner had provided adequate security.
The Foreseeability Aspect in a Negligent Security Case
In most negligent security cases, foreseeability is a crucial aspect. This is typically determined by whether any prior crimes had taken place in that same location (that the possessor/owner was aware of or should have been aware of), and which shared similarities.
For instance, if a particular mall’s parking lot has been the scene of several prior rape cases before a certain similar crime occurred, that makes it reasonable to expect that the current case was foreseeable. The owner of the property should increase security to prevent any other cases from occurring.
If there are no rape cases but other criminal acts have taken place in the same parking lot, then the rape case is likely not considered as a foreseeable crime. In some cases, the court may consider the frequency law enforcement called to that property and whether the crimes had been violent. The court may also take into consideration whether prior crimes were just simple, property-related crimes or violent ones.
Consult & Hire Titolo Law
Every inadequate security case is different. If you are injured in what you think could amount to an inadequate security case, it’s important that you consult Titolo Law in Las Vegas as we have experience in handling these types of cases. During the first consultation, our professionals will discuss your case in detail to best decide whether you have a strong case.