Filing a Lawsuit for Inadequate or Negligent Security: What You Need to Know

You expect to be able to go about your daily business safely. And property owners expect to be able to conduct business safely.

It’s part of an agreement between you and a property owner – by allowing you to enter their premises, they are assuming responsibility for reasonably assuring your safety. In turn, you agree not to do something that would put others in danger.

If they fail to provide adequate security and you are harmed as a result, you can sue them for negligent security.

Here’s what you need to know about filing a negligent security claim.

Types of Negligent Security Claims

Certain people have a duty of care to you. When you visit their property legally, they have to ensure your safety through appropriate security measures. If they fail to do so, you may have a negligent security case.

Common examples include things like:

  • Being assaulted in the lobby of your apartment complex
  • Being assaulted in a hotel room
  • Being robbed at an ATM
  • Being robbed at a gas station
  • Being mugged in the parking lot of a mall or grocery store

In all of these cases, you are the victim of a crime due to the negligence of the property owner who could have reasonably prevented the crime with adequate security measures.

If you are filing a negligent security claim, it’s a good idea to find an attorney with experience in negligent security cases to represent you.

How is Negligent Security Proven?

There are several elements of a negligence claim. In general, it falls on the plaintiff to prove four things, called the prima facie case for negligence:

  1. Duty (the defendant owed a legal duty of protection to the plaintiff)
  2. Breach (the defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way)
  3. Causation (the defendant’s actions or inaction caused the plaintiff’s injury)
  4. Damages (the plaintiff was harmed due to the defendant’s negligence)

For example, let’s say that the plaintiff (you) is a renter and the defendant is your landlord. Since you’re on the property legally, your landlord owes you a duty of care. Crime or dangerous activity on the property was foreseeable, so your landlord should have taken steps to prevent it.

Your landlord has breached their duty of care if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent harm. For example, they should have provided security guards or a security system.

To be clear: your landlord is not responsible for preventing every imaginable hazard. They are responsible for preventing hazards that could be reasonably predicted.

You also cannot build a case based simply on failure to get security guards or a security system. You have to be injured as a direct result of your landlord’s actions – for example, your apartment was broken into or you suffered severe brain injuries as a direct result of criminal activity on the premises.

Your attorney must prove that your injuries were the result of negligence and could have been reasonably avoided.

Do You Have a Negligent Security Case?

If you’re dealing with a negligent security case, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with significant trauma. You were minding your own business when a crime derailed your sense of personal safety.

A good attorney can defend you and help give you the tools you need to work toward recovery.

If you need more guidance on claims like this, check out our blog for more useful tips.

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