When you are the victim of a criminal assault, then the thing you probably want more than anything in the world is justice. Many people find that there is a certain peace of mind in watching their assailant face legal consequences for their actions, but that this doesn’t fix things the way they thought it would. After all, you’ve suffered injuries and financial damages that don’t just disappear with a guilty verdict.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their assailant is only one of the parties that may be responsible. If the crime occurred on a property that should have been protected or should have been secure, then you may be able to hold them responsible through a negligent security lawsuit.
To better understand negligent security lawsuits, we’re going to examine what negligent security is in a legal sense. Then we’ll look at what you need to win a negligent security lawsuit; this isn’t just what evidence you should use but also a discussion on the two key points that must be proven through that evidence. Then we’ll close out with a discussion about the kinds of damages that can be recovered through a negligent security lawsuit.
How is Negligent Security Defined in a Legal Sense?
Property owners have a responsibility to look after their property. This is most often discussed in relation to premises liability cases such as slip and falls. In those cases, the duty of care that is mentioned is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that there aren’t dangers such as holes or poor lighting. When a dangerous condition has been identified, they are supposed to fix it or leave clearly visible warnings until such a time as it can be fixed.
Another duty that property owners have is to take reasonable steps to prevent criminal acts from occurring on their property. A failure to provide adequate security could leave a property owner liable for injuries suffered as part of a crime on their property. However, a vital point to this is that the crime must be foreseeable.
That last point cannot be stressed enough. In order for somebody to be negligent in their security, there has to be a reason for them to provide security. For example, a mall is a place that may have issues with crime, so they hire security guards. But say that a wave of assaults is linked to the mall or occurring in the mall parking lot. Sticking to the same security protocols could now be argued to be negligent if somebody was assaulted in the parking lot. After all, it was a foreseeable crime, and so additional security measures should have been put into action to prevent it.
How Do You Win a Negligent Security Lawsuit?
In order to win a negligent security lawsuit, you must prove both that the security was negligent and that the incident in which you were injured was foreseeable. You need to prove both of these in order to win. So if you believe that security was negligent, but there was no foreseeable reason for the security, then you don’t have the necessary ingredients to pursue a negligent security lawsuit.
Foreseeable may be demonstrated in a number of ways, however. Some businesses are automatically considered high-risk, so crime should be considered foreseeable by nature. Crime statistics and local news reports can be used to show that a particular area was seeing a surge in criminal activity and, therefore, should have had better security. Direct threats issued against a place or against a person within a place are clear signs that security should be increased.
Another way that foreseeability can be shown is by looking at what other businesses or building owners in the area have done to increase their security. Compare these security measures to those in effect where you were injured. It could reveal a failure to act on foreseeable circumstances.
Next, you must prove that the security was negligent. There is a number of ways that we can prove this as well. Some examples of negligent security could be a lack of security guards, poor lighting, a lack of security alarms or cameras, poor or lacking locks, and impotent security patrols.
Don’t forget, however, that not every premise needs security or much of it. For example, a high-income neighborhood with low crime rates would, by nature, require less security than a neighborhood with high crime rates. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have any. But by the nature of the location, the expectation of security changes. What might make for a compelling argument about one premise might not be relevant to another. It’s always best to work with an experienced attorney that can help ensure you build the strongest case possible for the unique circumstances of your experience.
What Damages Can I Recover Through a Negligent Security Case?
If you win a negligent security case, then you can receive compensation for the following:
- Emotional trauma
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wages you lost because you were recovering
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damages
- Loss of enjoyment
Crimes of this nature can result in a wide range of injuries. Some people get away with very minor injuries, while others suffer more severe injuries. However, many of the damages caused by events of this nature are hard to pinpoint, such as emotional trauma. It can be hard to put a financial number to what you experienced, but you deserve to seek compensation for the full range of what you suffered.
How Do I Pursue a Negligent Security Lawsuit?
The best thing to do is to speak to an attorney with experience in negligent security lawsuits. They’ll be able to sit down with you and discuss what options are available for seeking compensation. They’ll also be able to help guide you through the information above, especially the points about proving foreseeability, to ensure that your experience has the necessary ingredients for a negligent security lawsuit. If you’ve been wronged, seek justice today.