Negligent security is a legal concept that arises within the realm of premises liability. It refers to a situation where an individual becomes a victim of a violent act or crime on another person's property, primarily due to inadequate security. The result can be a negligent security claim, which can arise from various real-life scenarios, such as assaults in parking lots, robberies in poorly lit areas, or attacks in buildings without proper access control.
What Is Considered Negligent Security?
Security can be considered negligent if the conditions put anyone on the property at risk of suffering serious injuries. Specific circumstances that can lead to liability for negligent security claims include inadequate lighting, broken or ineffective locks, insufficient surveillance systems, poorly trained security personnel, and lack of alarm systems.
Inadequate lighting, for instance, can create an environment conducive to criminal activity, as it provides cover for perpetrators to commit crimes unseen. Similarly, broken locks can provide easy access for criminals, thereby jeopardizing the safety of customers, residents, or visitors.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Negligent Security Incidents?
The potential plaintiffs in an inadequate security claim could range from tenants and visitors to customers, depending on who was harmed due to the lack of proper security. Many people can also potentially be held liable for the plaintiffs injuries including:
Property owners. If the property owner fails to provide adequate security measures, they can be held liable for any resulting harm.
Landlords. Like property owners, landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of their tenants. If they neglect this duty, they may be held accountable.
Business operators. Businesses must provide safe environments for their customers. If a business operator fails to address known security risks, they may be found liable.
Security companies. If a security company fails to properly perform its duties, such as monitoring surveillance cameras or responding to security alerts, it can be held accountable.
Property managers. Property managers are tasked with maintaining the safety and security of a property. If they fail to do so, they can be held accountable for negligent security.
Homeowners' associations (HOAs). HOAs are responsible for ensuring common areas in their communities are secure. If they fail in this duty, they may face legal consequences.
Schools and universities. These institutions have a responsibility to protect their students and staff. Negligence in implementing adequate security measures can lead to liability.
When determining liability, several factors are taken into account. The foreseeability of the crime, for instance, plays a crucial role. If the property or business owner could have reasonably anticipated the crime due to prior similar incidents or known risks, they may be held liable for not taking necessary precautions.
The severity of the crime and the prevention measures that could have reasonably been implemented also factor into the liability equation. For example, if a severe assault occurs in a parking lot with no security cameras or lighting, the owner may face significant legal consequences.
Legal Responsibilities of Property Owners & Landlords
In law, property owners and landlords have a duty of care towards individuals who enter their premises legally. This duty involves taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors, tenants, and customers. When it comes to security, this implies installing adequate security measures like surveillance cameras, ensuring sufficient lighting, employing security personnel, and maintaining locks and gates.
Victims of negligent security incidents often face physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial loss. As such, it is crucial to consider pursuing a claim for compensation. This process typically involves proving that the property owner's negligence directly resulted in the incident and the subsequent harm.
To establish this, victims may need to demonstrate that:
The property owner owed them a duty of care.
The property owner breached this duty by failing to provide adequate security.
This breach directly caused the victim's injury.
The victim suffered damages as a result.
Discuss your claim with the experienced personal injury attorneys at McHargue & Jones, LLC. Call (312) 487-2461 to schedule an initial consultation today.