What is Negligent Security and What Is Needed to Prove it?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2019 | Firm News |

Working in the field of law, some of the saddest cases that we encounter come from when a business or property owner acts negligently and someone gets injured as a result of a crime due to this negligence.

In cases like these, negligent security attorneys can help an injured party take legal action against a business or property owner for failing to provide the right level of security. When someone is a victim of a criminal act due to inadequate security on business or private property, it is referred to as negligent security.

Liability and Negligent Security

The legality behind these cases is that the defendant (business or property owner) had a legal responsibility to control the premises and they had a duty to protect parties on the property from acts of crime, provided they could have foreseen it coming.

Whenever a business has previous knowledge that a crime may occur, and they fail to take the right preventative measures, they could be found guilty of negligent security.

If patrons get injured as a result of a criminal act, the business could be held liable for it. Establishing whether or not the crime could have been prevented has become the biggest point of proving one of these cases. You must be able to prove that the business owner had previous knowledge of the dangers, and they failed to act to prevent it.

Defining a Foreseeable Criminal Act

You have a couple of different ways that make these crimes a foreseeable criminal act. For example, the business owner would have had to know that a crime had a high chance of occurring. This is known in the court system as, “constructive knowledge.”

For a business to be found guilty of negligent security, having evidence where past cases had occurred will often be essential in proving that the business failed to take the right actions of security.

The significance becomes about making connections between past crimes and showing how the same crime committed against the plaintiff has caused them harm.

Many debates have arisen over how similar the crimes have to be to each other for it to turn into an issue of liability. For instance, the court system has said that past examples of vandalism and theft don’t make this into a foreseeable crime. At the same time, it normally needs to be a violent crime like battery or assault for the courts to rule in favor of the plaintiff.

After hearing the details of your case, your negligent security attorney will be able to let you know what options you have in regards to the crime committed against you.

Examples of Negligent Security

Business and property owners are required to have reasonable security measures in place that will prevent crimes against those that are on the property. Common examples of negligent security include:

  • Failing to install or monitor security cameras
  • Failing to warn visitors about known risks or dangers
  • Failing to respond to a security alert or emergency call
  • Failing to maintain adequate lighting in dark areas
  • Failing to provide properly-trained security guards or a security patrol
  • Failing to fix broken physical barriers, including locks, gates, fences, or doors
  • Failing to maintain the appearance of an establishment

To put these into a real-life situation for you, imagine if a property owner did not have adequate lighting and someone on the property was assaulted or robbed where there was no visibility. The property owner could be held liable because adequate lighting could have prevented the crime. If need to have security measures in the area exist and the business failed to take these precautions, they could be held liable in the courts.

Failing to Prevent Criminal Activity

Let’s say that a business, such as an apartment complex, had previously received warnings about criminal activity on site. If that criminal element has the potential to harm someone and the business never took appropriate action to prevent it, you may want to hire a personal injury attorney and go after the business for negligent security. Many of the crimes that fall under the category of negligent security include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Theft crimes that escalated

For anyone to successfully file a claim against a business for negligent security, they will need the personal injury attorney to prove that the security measures put into place by the owner were ineffective. The plaintiff must show that this happened as a result of poor security measures like low lighting or a lack of security personnel. Special measures must have been taken with the intention of getting rid of the criminal element on the property.

What Will the Plaintiff Have to Prove?

Following what’s written on the Restatement (Second) of Torts, a plaintiff litigating for inadequate security has to prove that the possessor or landowner failed to practice reasonable diligence to identify similar earlier criminal activities or neglected to provide enough warnings for visitors to avoid injury.

The plaintiff will have to prove that:

He or she was present lawfully on the defendant’s land

The defendant breached the obligation to provide adequate security

The plaintiff was injured due to a third party’s actions that were rationally foreseeable to the defendant

The plaintiff wouldn’t have incurred injuries were it not for the defendant’s breach of duty

The plaintiff suffered tangible losses

It’s best to consult a lawyer when there’s been a crime on a property to figure out if security measures ought to be boosted. An experienced inadequate security lawyer can help assess how the property owner’s negligent actions directly resulted in an injury or crime. The Atlanta-based legal team at Pratt Clay, LLC has many years working with those injured due to negligent security. Get experienced counsel in your corner.

Contact our firm at 404-566-9460 for a no-fee, no obligation consultation.