Injuries and Assaults Due to Negligent Security
It can happen to anyone. One moment you are dancing in a nightclub, buying groceries, or watching a movie. Next, you are in an emergency room, trying to understand what happened and tending to severe injuries.
If you’ve been assaulted and injured while on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover significant compensation. To do that, you must prove that the property owner acted negligently by failing to arrange proper security measures.
Since negligent security cases have many complex components, it may be nearly impossible to recover compensation without professional legal assistance. After you get medical help and your life is no longer in danger, consider consulting a personal injury attorney.
What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is part of premises liability that addresses crimes and violent acts because the property owner didn’t arrange sufficient security. The law obligates the owner to take reasonable measures to protect all visitors from foreseeable harm. You can seek compensation if you can prove that they failed to arrange security.
For example, when you rent a hotel room, you expect the hotel management to keep the duplicate key to your room safe. If a criminal gains access to that key, enters your room, and assaults you, you can sue the hotel for negligent security.
The basis for a negligent security lawsuit may include:
Assault and robbery near an ATM
Robbery and rape in a parking lot
Assault in a hotel room
Robbery and assault in a condominium
Gas station or convenience store robbery
Rape on a college campus
If your loved one dies due to negligent security, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation.
Overall, negligent security means appropriate security measures could have prevented the crime.
You cannot hold property owners liable for everything that happens on their territory. However, they must take proper security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable crimes.
While foreseeable sounds like the owner has to predict the future, this isn’t the case. Owners have to use reason to protect visitors from safety threats while staying on their property.
When arguing a security negligence case, you must demonstrate that a reasonable person in the owner’s position would have understood the likelihood of an incident and taken appropriate measures.
For example, if there is a record of increasing criminal activity near a bar, the bar owner should strengthen security to protect their visitors. If they ignore the trend and fail to strengthen security, they could be liable for crimes on their property.
Foreseeability is highly subjective and varies from case to case. What may seem foreseeable to the victim may not be obvious to the judge or the insurance company. That’s why gathering substantial evidence and developing a strong argument is important.
Proper Security Measures
What does arranging proper security measures mean? This can also vary from case to case.
Functioning locks on doors
Appropriate lighting on parking lots
Security patrols in neighborhoods with violent crime history
Security professionals in nightclubs or bars
Restricted access to duplicate keys in hotels
Some states define proper security measures are. For example, in Florida, you cannot hold a convenience store owner liable for negligent security if they take measures listed in the state statute.
This can include such additional actions as:
A note at the entrance stating that the cash register contains $50 or less.
A policy that limits cash on hands after 11 p.m.
Absence of window tinting
At least two employees are on the premises during nighttime.
Except for measures regulated by the law, a victim would need to prove the absence of adequate security measures to collect compensation.
Proving the absence of such measures closely ties into proving foreseeable harm. It requires a professional legal approach to gathering evidence, understanding local laws, doing extensive research, and much more.
Types of Negligent Security Cases
Negligent security cases that end in injuries can differ greatly. Some of them can lead to significant compensation for personal injuries. Others result in wrongful death lawsuits.
Common incidents include:
More than 40,000 people die yearly from gun violence in the United States. Many sustain injuries in mass shootings.
A large number of shooting injuries happen due to negligent security. They can range from fatal gun wounds to serious traumas that cause disabilities. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if property owners exercised adequate security.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery cases are common in the United States. Around 285 people out of 100,000 sustain serious injuries due to assault and battery. Some of them die. The extent of injuries sustained in an assault and battery situation depends on an attacker’s weapon.
A property owner can prevent these assaults by screening visitors for weapons, strengthening on-site security, limiting access to the property, and much more.
Sexual assaults and rape on the property can lead to severe physical injuries. These assaults can happen when the property owner doesn’t pay enough attention to screening visitors, checking security cameras, installing high-quality locks, etc.
Many survivors of sexual assault never come forward. They don’t feel safe or strong enough to file lawsuits. But with the right approach to legal action, a lawyer can find and punish the attacker. Survivors can recover compensation to help them deal with the physical and emotional consequences of the attack.
Robbery is one of the most common types of negligent security cases. When property owners don’t protect visitors, employees, customers, and others from robbers, they must face the consequences.
In many cases, robberies result in serious injuries. Sometimes, they occur together with sexual assault or rape.
Not all shooting, assault, and battery victims know that in addition to suing the attacker, they can file a lawsuit against the property owner. Each incident warrants an in-depth investigation into the property’s security measures. Doing this on your own can be complicated, especially while you are recovering from injuries.
That’s why many injured people hire personal injury attorneys. Reliable personal injury lawyers usually offer free case evaluations. You can take advantage of this opportunity to determine whether you should proceed with your case.
How to Prove Negligent Security?
When it comes to negligent security, it’s up to the victim or their family member (in a wrongful death case) to carry the burden of proof. You must demonstrate the defender’s fault to the court or the insurance company.
To do that, you have to meet four criteria:
Legal presence on the property. You need to show that you were present on the property legally. If you entered the property without permission, you might not be able to sue for negligent security.
Lack of adequate security measures. You would have to prove that the lack of reasonable security measures on the property led to a security incident (assault, battery, robbery, etc.)
Foreseeable harm. This is the toughest part of the case, where you need to show that the property owner should have known about the possible harm that may come to you on their property.
Injuries. You would need to show that you sustained injuries as a result of the incident, which happened due to a lack of reasonable security.
Besides these four elements, you must also demonstrate that the property owner had a legal duty of care to you. This duty of care can depend on the property owner’s position.
For example, if you are visiting a friend renting an apartment, they are only responsible for your security inside the apartment. If you get hurt in a common area or a parking lot, you must seek compensation from the property owner.
If you get hurt on a college campus, you can hold the owners fully liable for negligent security in dorm rooms. Meanwhile, if the crime occurs in a condominium, you may have difficulty figuring out who is responsible for arranging security.
The status of the person’s legal presence on the property can vary. For example, they may arrive with an invitation or come on their own accord. In both cases, they are present legally. However, the level of the owner’s responsibility for their security may vary.
Meanwhile, even visitors who don’t come to the property legally (e.g., trespassers) have rights. It might be possible to recover compensation even if you went uninvited.
To prove all aspects of negligent security, you must collect evidence, speak to witnesses, and do significant research. Besides that, you have to be ready to face the at-fault party’s lawyers and insurance adjusters.
Since the plaintiff’s bears the burden of proof, the defendant will do everything possible to show that your case doesn’t have merit. To counter these arguments, you would need legal experience and expertise.
Property owners aren’t responsible for everything that happens on their property. You may not get compensation if they prove they couldn’t have foreseen the problem. If you work with an attorney, they can conduct an in-depth investigation to uncover the property owner’s negligence and improve your case’s integrity.
How Much You Can Recover in a Negligent Security Case?
The amount you can recover in a negligent security case can vary from several hundred dollars to millions. The final figure depends on several factors.
How Severe Your Injuries Are?
The severity of your injuries determines the course and duration of the treatment. The more time and money you need to spend on recovery, the more you can demand from the at-fault party. You increase your chances of receiving higher compensation by backing all of your treatment with evidence.
Meanwhile, if your injuries are severe enough to keep you from going to work, you can also recover compensation for lost wages.
Quality of Evidence
Evidence is the driving force behind successful personal injury cases. Even if the situation seems clear and straightforward, it’s still up to the injured person to prove their right to damage recovery.
Examples of evidence in negligent security cases include:
Medical bills, doctor’s reports, prescriptions, X-rays, test results, etc.
W-2 forms, pay stubs
Photos and videos of injuries
Expert witness testimony
Camera footage from the site of the incident
An attorney can identify and gather the important evidence needed to build a strong case. Sometimes, they may need to return to the accident scene to collect something the police may have missed.
It’s important to start collecting evidence as soon as possible. Some pieces tend to disappear and fade with time. Meanwhile, witnesses could start forgetting details.
Negligent security cases are often complex. They require in-depth investigations, detailed research, strong negotiation skills, and more. People who become victims of violent acts on someone else’s property usually sustain serious injuries that require their full attention.
That’s why they rarely start legal action on time or have an opportunity to build a strong case that results in fair compensation.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney maximizes your chances of receiving reasonable compensation.
Conduct an investigation
File all documents on time
Prepare a strong argument
Negotiate with the insurance company or the defendant’s legal team
Provide valuable advice throughout the case
When it comes to personal injury cases, legal support can make a significant difference in how much money you can receive.
Taking a Comprehensive Approach to Legal Action
You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve sustained injuries while attacked on someone else’s property. Many people don’t know that besides suing the attacker, they can file a claim against the property owner who allowed the attack.
With comprehensive legal assistance and high-quality evidence, you can recover damages and start getting your life back on track.
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