When someone is assaulted, you might expect that they can file a lawsuit against their assailant for damages. Criminals can be frustratingly good at doing bad things, though, so catching an assailant is not always easy or possible. Yet an unidentified assailant does not mean that the assault victim is out of options for collecting fair compensation.
If an assault victim is hurt on someone else’s property, then that property owner might be held liable for their injuries through an extension of premises liability laws. Such claims and lawsuits argue that negligent security measures were taken to protect visitors, guests, and others from the undue harm of bad actors who might be tempted to commit crimes on that property. Negligent security claims are rarely straightforward, so it is recommended that you work with a local attorney at the start.
Why Would a Property Owner Be Responsible for a Criminal’s Acts?
There are certain types of properties or areas that will assumedly attract bad actors, especially in neighborhoods with a known high crime rate. Owners of such properties need to take reasonable steps to ensure that criminals cannot exploit or harm the people there.
Examples of properties that might attract criminals are:
- 24-hour convenience stores
- Liquor shops
- Apartment complexes
- Industrial warehouses
- And so forth
Regardless of the property type, the underlying consideration is whether or not the property owner acted reasonably in creating security measures. For example, a housing complex in a region with a high crime rate can install a security gate to prevent wanderers from entering the complex uninvited. Or a 24-hour convenience store can install security cameras and require employees to place money into an unlockable safe every 20 minutes.
When a Security Company is Liable for an Assault
There are some situations in which a property owner has taken reasonable steps to deter crime by hiring a security company, but that company fails to protect people from bad actors. If it can be found that security team members were negligent in their duties to stop crimes on the property they patrol or monitor, then liability could be passed from the property owner to that security company.
For example, imagine that a strip mall hires a third-party security company to walk the grounds each night after closing. A criminal breaks into the strip mall, finds a store employee working late, assaults them, and robs them at gunpoint before getting away. Closed-circuit TV footage shows the security guards were not patrolling the mall when the robbery happened but were instead watching videos on their phones in the security office. In this situation, the security company could be liable for failing to properly train and supervise its employees, effectively “enabling” a criminal act that led to someone’s injury.
Not Sure If You Have a Claim? Call a Lawyer
Premises liability law is notoriously complicated, and it only gets trickier when there is a question of negligent security. Were you assaulted or otherwise harmed by a criminal on someone else’s property? You should not decide that you do not have a claim worth pursuing without first talking to an attorney, who can tell you all about negligent security claim complications and liability rules. Using their guidance or representation, you might be able to be fairly compensated for what happened by the property owner or the security company that failed you.
Claimants in Chicago, Illinois can count on McHargue & Jones, LLC for prompt and responsive legal representation in negligent security claims. Call (312) 487-2461 to schedule an appointment with our team today.