Were You Injured Due To A Criminal Act While On Someone Else's Property?
The world can be a dangerous place and there are plenty of criminals in it looking for an opportunity—when lax security measures give them that opportunity and you get injured as a result, what can you do? Negligent security claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit that can help you recover your damages when you've been the victim of crime on someone else's property. This is what you should know.
What makes a negligent security claim?
The law doesn't require property owners to try to prevent all harm—that would be too hard for anyone. However, when property owners have the power to prevent a foreseeable injury and don't, the law considers that lapse to be a form of negligence. Here's what you have to prove:
- You were on the property legally, which means that the property owner owed a certain duty of care toward you and your well-being.
- The property owner knew or should have known that criminal activity in the area was putting guests or residents at significant risk of harm.
- There was a failure to take security measures, or the measures were inadequate.
- Adequate security would have likely prevented your injuries.
What types of crimes give rise to negligent security claims?
In a $2.66M verdict handed down in late 2015, the owners of a gated community were held liable for the death of a man who was checking on a house for a relative. The owners had let a broken gate go unattended, despite concerns over crime in the area, and burglars got in. In a case that garnered a lot of media attention, sports reporter Erin Andrews won a multimillion-dollar judgment against a stalker who videotaped her through a hotel door's peephole. Part of that judgment was levied against the hotel because employees gave the stalker her room number and rather cavalierly allowed him to request the room next to hers.
There are numerous other situations that can lead to negligent security cases as well:
- failing to provide for security at a scheduled and publicized event, despite requests or a contractual agreement
- not securing windows, sliding glass doors, or access to the general hallways of an apartment complex
- not rekeying doors after tenants change or after an employee with access to the keys has been dismissed
- allowing groups of people to loiter on the property, especially around doorways or blocking sidewalks
- not providing security guards at night to watch for thefts or car jackings in a large parking lot
- not calling the police when guests at the establishment begin to exhibit hostile or erratic behavior, particularly if alcohol is served
- not performing criminal background checks on employees befoe hiring them to check for a history of violent crime
Those are just some of the potential possibilities. If you believe that a few simple security measures on the part of the property owner could have prevented an injury you suffered at the hands of a criminal, talk to an attorney (such as one from King Law Firm) today about the possibilities of a case.