If an individual (plaintiff) incurs a personal injury through a third party as a result of negligent or inadequate security managed by a property/business owner, it is regarded as negligent security. Crimes abounds in every society, that’s a fact but property and business owners – both residential and commercial – are expected to secure their premises against crime. Failure to do so renders them liable for injury to patrons and visitors.
A negligent security injury claim could range from rape to robbery, to battery and assault. For instance, if a bank customer is mugged within the bank premises/parking lot, the bank will be held liable for the customer’s injury because it failed to provide adequate security to its customers thus giving room for crime to be perpetuated on their premises.
Some examples of negligent cases
There are numerous causes for a negligent security suit. However, most of them fall under a common theme – the property owner failed to offer adequate security. Some instances include:
- Inadequate/lack of proper security.
- Damaged fencing or gates.
- Inadequate lighting in strategic places like parking lots.
- Malfunctioning security hardware like locks
- Negligent/careless security guards
- Faulty security systems.
The burden of proving negligent security lies in proving foreseeability or notice. Negligent security suits are built on the theory that property/business owners (defendants) have the responsibility of protecting patrons and visitors from injury, of criminal attacks, when the attack is deemed reasonably foreseeable.
In essence, the defendant must have known that there is the possibility of crimes occurring within that location and failed to take reasonable steps at preventing the occurrence of the crime. If a crime occurs in such a situation, the owner is held liable for the plaintiff’s injury.
The lawyer must first establish that the defendant is aware or has been aware that there are chances of crimes occurring in the premises. A simple examination of the zip code of the area will reveal areas prone to crimes plus the nature of the crimes. This knowledge which is also available to the defendant can be used to prove constructive knowledge.
The crimes in this instance ought to be similar to previous known crimes in the area. For instance, the area is known for rape. If the plaintiff was the 5th rape victim in that area, the property owner is liable for that injury because the area has a history for that type of crime.
However, this limitation poses a problem such that there is a debate in Florida courts wherein some courts allow a broader definition which allows dissimilar crimes to provide enough basis for guilt.
Negligent security cases are broad and complex. If you or a friend/family member suffer any injury on another person’s property and believe that your injury is a result of negligent security, you should quickly hire a qualified personal injury attorney. Ensure that the attorney is skilled in this field and possess enough resources and time to investigate and maximize your negligent security recovery/claims.