If you are in a shopping mall, business parking lot, parking lot at a housing complex or someplace similar and you are assaulted or otherwise victimized, you have an opportunity to seek repercussions—not just against the person who hurt you, but the person who is ultimately responsible for providing a safe environment. You may be able to pursue a legal case against the owners or the operators of the place in which you were injured because of a legal term called negligent security.
Even though the person or people who did the physical harm are actually responsible for the illegal activity that was done to you, it may be that store owners or property managers face some of the blame. If this owners or managers failed to provide adequate lighting or security to ensure that you were protected from a crime that might be reasonably expected, then those people are negligent.
Premises Liability Law
Negligent security falls under premises liability laws. In this kind of law, the owner or manager is accused of not taking the steps necessary to prevent a dangerous situation. Conceivably, nearly any sort of commercial building owner could be responsible for an injury or assault if they do not provide the right protections. Commercial property owners are not expected to guarantee the safety of everyone who enters their property, but they do have to respond in an appropriate manner to risks that they should be able to foresee.
What Makes a Risk Foreseeable?
A risk is foreseeable depending where it is located, how attractive it would be deemed to criminals, and if there is a history of criminal activity. Sometimes, businesses grow up and thrive in high crime areas. It is incumbent upon the owner or manager of the property to ensure that people who visit to do business there receive adequate protection.
How to Prove Negligent Security
Proving negligent security can be quite difficult. Consider that in a negligent security situation, the victim is seeking damages not from the person who actually physically caused the harm, but the property owner or manager. Attorneys must prove that this owner or manager knew or should have known that someone would be harmed because the property is in a high crime area.
To complicate matters, there is no way to make an obvious evaluation of the danger that a property poses. How much protection is enough for an owner to provide? An attorney will likely hire an expert in security to look at the public record for previous incidents at the location and at places nearby. The person hired to make this evaluation will examine public records that show not only the nature, but the frequency of crimes at a location.
The expert will then make an evaluation about whether the cautions and precautions the owner made were appropriate.
It is up to a quality and experienced attorney to make a case, using crime statistics for a location, as well as the findings of the security expert, to prove that the owner knew of potential risks and did not take the necessary action to prevent the plaintiff’s injury. For the plaintiff, it must be proved that the owner or manager did not behave reasonably to prevent the injury.
At the end of the case, the plaintiff, who is also a crime victim, will seek to receive damages for the injuries suffered, and for losses that were the result of their attack or assault. These cases are difficult, but in 2011, a jury found in favor of the plaintiff for $4.2 million even though he was shot, while visiting an amusement park, on a side-road and not even in the parking lot of the park.
It is important to find a law firm that will strongly and efficiently represent you if you find yourself to be the victim of a crime in an inadequate security case. You need someone who will advocate for you after you have been hurt due to the negligence of a property owner or manager to offer you the protection you need and deserve.
The police may be focused on the person or the people who caused the assault, an experienced legal team can help find out if the owner or manager of the premises actually caries a large part of the responsibility. These are the people who can control and prevent unsafe activities from taking place, and these people have that responsibility, especially if prior acts occurred at the same site.