When we go about our lives, we do so with the assumption that most other people are not interested in harming us – and that if someone is, the businesses and other places we visit will have the tools in place to spot, prevent, or stop crime from causing serious harm. When a business fails to meet this responsibility, however, they may be liable for compensation due to their neglect of security measures.
“Negligent security” is a form of premises liability: the same area of law that addresses dangerous conditions like broken stairs or slippery sidewalks. It focuses on the legal duty of property owners to offer reasonable security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable harm.
Typically, in a negligent security claim, the property owner was not the one who inflicted harm on the injured person. The party who inflicts the harm is often a third party, and the harm results from an assault or similar action that causes injuries. The “negligent security” question arises when the injured person believes that the property owner could have taken some reasonable step to prevent the harm, but did not.
Negligent Security as a Type of Premises Liability Negligence
Many negligent security cases focus on the question of “foreseeability.” Is it reasonable to say that the property owner should have foreseen that a crime like this might occur on the property?
While the answer to this questions depends on the facts in each individual case, certain factors can influence whether or not the injury was foreseeable. For instance, if there were several similar crimes in the neighborhood in the months or weeks before this incident, it is easier to argue that the incident was foreseeable.
Likewise, while “adequate security” varies depending on the particular facts at each location. However, a lack of common security features like cameras, adequate lighting, locks, and rules about who may have keys can all weigh towards a finding that adequate security measures were neglected.
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The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.