Determining If You Have A Negligent Security Claim

Determining If You Have A Negligent Security Claim

Daniel Hall 01/04/2021 3
Determining If You Have A Negligent Security Claim

Negligent security is a type of premises liability, which relates to civil redress for violent acts and other crimes.

If a person is injured within a property by a third party, they are able to hold either the tenant or the owner liable for the crime by not providing the correct amount or type of security. 

This is because tenants and owners of properties have a legal duty of care to look after anyone who either lives in or visits their premises. As part of these measures, they should have in place a number of security measures that are considered reasonable and that work to protect from any cases of crime. When and where a property tenant or owner ignores their responsibility to do this and someone gets injured or harmed as a result, the person in question is well within their rights to sue on the grounds of negligent security. 

Individual cases of negligent security can and do vary greatly from case to case and include examples such as the following:

  • There is an old people’s home where visitors to it are not required to sign in in order to gain access and security cameras are not in use. A person who has a disorderly relationship with a resident there gains access to the premises and physically attacks the resident, resulting in serious injuries. 
  • A city owned underground car park is very dimly lit and as a result there have been a number of cases of theft and vandalism there, in the process exposing people using it to unnecessary risk. On one occasion, someone is mugged and stabbed in the process by their assailant several times.
  • In an apartment building there are a number of door locks that do not function correctly. Despite the fact that a number of tenants have already complained about the situation, nothing has been done by the landlord in an effort to rectify these problems. An armed individual made their way into the building through one of these unlocked doors and proceeded to attack a tenant in their apartment.
  • A large hotel that has a history of calls being made to the police regarding drug deals and assaults installs a security camera system in order to keep close tabs on all the public areas of the building. However, no one actually watches the footage and when the cameras were broken or became damaged, they were never fixed or replaced. A guest was attacked and injured in an elevator. 
  • There is a country music bar that is well known for having live bands play and so attracts large crowds of people. When the venue gets too crowded it can get very rowdy and guests start fighting with one another. Even though this is the case, the bar has never employed any security staff and none of the bar staff know how to handle security. During one event, a fight breaks out and a guest experiences severe head injuries. 

  • Despite the fact that a college dormitory requires an ID badge to gain entry, the doors are usually left wide open for many hours at a time. An ex boyfriend of a student, who was not a student himself, enters the building and assaults her sexually. 

With each of these scenarios, the property tenant or owner had no reason as to why they did not remedy the issues that they were aware of that led to the crime happening. The fact that they did not make the premises more secure and safe acted as a major factor in the injuries that they sustained. 

Establishments Liable For Negligent Security

Virtual Power Plant House

Being subject to negligent security is not just limited to a certain type of property or location and in fact includes the likes of:

  • Motels and hotels
  • Malls, shopping centres, and retail stores
  • Apartment blocks
  • Office buildings
  • Universities, colleges, and schools
  • Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants
  • Conference centres, concert halls, stadiums, and other event venues
  • Parking lots and parking garages
  • Vehicles and transit hubs
  • Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and other care facilities
  • Government agency offices, public schools, public housing buildings, and other properties owned by the government

Who Exactly Can Be Sued?

It is both the tenant or the owner of a property that is typically held responsible for keeping the premises adequately secure. The exact specifics on who exactly the responsibility lies on varies from case to case, depending on the exact specifics of the contact relationships that are in place. 

Some specific circumstances may seen any of the following people held responsible for negligent security:

  • Parking garage management company
  • Landscaping company
  • Building management company
  • Security company
  • Municipal or state government
  • Property owner

Harmed Due To Negligent Security

For anyone who has been subject to a criminal attack, they will know exactly just how terrifying it can be, and many people do not know how to react to it happening to them. In an ideal world, the victim of such a crime should be able to follow all the required steps (listed below) in order to ensure they are completely protected, as well as fully prepared for the legal consequences. However, because the world, as we know, is not perfect, it means that victims are not always in a position where they can tick each and every box.

Those people who have been harmed after being subject to a criminal attack, their very first priority should be to make themselves safe and then have any injuries that they have sustained treated by a medical professional. Even if you do not have any visible signs of injury, you should still get checked out, as there may be internal damage that you may not be aware of. This is especially true because of the adrenaline rush that you will have experienced after going through such a traumatic episode. 

Once you have done these things, you should then call the emergency services on 911. Doing this will mean that the event is treated as a crime and then an incident report is created. You should request a copy of this for your own personal records. If someone who manages the property also files an incident report, then you should obtain a copy of that also. Until you have spoken with a negligent security attorney,you should not sign any paper work or documentation that comes your way.

You should never admit that you were at fault or apologize for doing something. This is true for when ever you interact with witnesses, the property owner, law enforcement, and insurance companies. You should always speak with your attorney before making any kind of statement. As soon as you can, you should get in contact with an attorney, as they can help you to stop exposing yourself to legal risks and are in a position to provide you with advice as to what your options are at this point.

Be sure to take as many videos and photos with a camera as you can that document exactly what injuries you sustained and what your surroundings looked like at the time of the attack, as these will be useful during the legal proceedings that are to come. A review of the security measures that were in place after the time of the incident may not give an accurate insight into the conditions at the time of your attack, which is where video and photographic evidence that was taken at the time comes in handy. Where there are any witnesses to the crime that has just been perpetrated against you, then try your best to get their contact details, as well as their name(s).

Recoverable Damages

Depending on both the severity and the nature of the crime that you have experienced, it may have ended up in you having to pay very expensive medical bills for a number of weeks, months, or even years. These costs include things such as care for overcoming your injuries, transportation costs, and the initial emergency care costs. In more severe cases that have resulted in serious, disabling and / or permanent damage being caused, it may be the case that further accommodations to your lifestyle or home are required in order to live. Changes such as these can have serious and life long effects on psychological and physical well being, as well as on your very way of life. 

Attempting to seek out legal recourse for the injuries that you have sustained along with the help of an attorney, you can get the full level of compensation that you are entitled to - no matter how much that is. The most common types of damages that are awarded with negligent security claims include monetary damages and / or compensation.

The costs that are eligible through compensation in these types of cases include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Future and past medical expenses
  • Burial and funeral expenses 
  • Trauma counseling expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Suffer and pain
  • Lost wages

Award Damages & Comparative Fault

It is very important to remember when bringing about a case for recoverable damages is the idea of comparative negligence. Sometimes also referred to as comparative fault, this is a legal defense that is done across the vast majority of states in America. It requires that any damages that are awarded are based upon the % of fault by the plaintiff or the defendants. This means then that if it is the case that the plaintiff is determined to be somewhat at fault for the violent attack that they were subject to, then the amount of compensation that they are awarded is reduced by the % at which they were at fault.

Those states that do not currently follow this ruling of comparative fault include Washington DC. North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Maryland

Hiring An Attorney

By having a fully qualified and well informed attorney in place to represent you and your case, you are significantly increasing your chances of building up a very strong case and so getting the outcome that you so desire, i. e. being financially compensated for the injuries sustained. 

Whilst it is not a requirement nor a necessity to appoint an attorney to work for you, doing everything that you need to do in order to ensure that you win the case all by your self is a very big ask. Some of the things that you will need to do include conducting a full, comprehensive investigation and gathering up as much evidence as is possible. 

An experienced and qualified attorney that has handled cases similar to yours in the past, will have a good knowledge of how to do a full investigation, how to work alongside the appropriate authorities (e. g. law enforcement) and any other experts that are brought in in order to help with the investigation. A good attorney is also able to advocate on your behalf based on the seriousness of your injuries and the nature of the case itself.

Important Take Away

Hotel Room

Cases of negligent security can happen to anyone in pretty much any sort of public or private premises in the United States of America. Where there are issues and concerns relating to safety and security and these are not adequately reminded in order to stop crimes from happening or harm to individuals from occurring, then the property owner or tenant is liable to be sued for their inaction, which has contributed to the injuries sustained during the crime taking place.

Pretty much no premises and no type of property owner are off bounds when it comes to negligent security, so if you are one it is important that you are doing everything possible to make people safe whilst they are in your premises. Should you not do this and someone is injured because of s crime then expect yourself to be sued. 

When it comes to bringing a case to a tenant or a property owner, it is important to quickly get an attorney on board who can help with leading an investigation into the incident and getting you all of the financial recourse that you deserve.

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  • Peter Walker

    Attorneys can sort out these issues.

  • Aaron Max

    Call your lawyer when in trouble

  • Lee Spencer

    Thanks Daniel that was helpful.

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.


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