Premises Liability Negligent Security

February 25, 2024

By Promoting Justice

One aspect of premises liability law concerns inadequate security measures installed at an owner’s premises. If a crime, such as a robbery or assault, takes place at someone else’s premises due to a lack of security, and a person suffers injuries because of this, the injured party could bring a premises liability claim against the property owner to seek compensation for any damages sustained. Learn about premises liability due to negligent security and explore the legal options available to those who have sustained an injury due to inadequate security measures at someone else’s Florida, New Hampshire, or Vermont property by contacting a personal injury attorney from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer at (802) 457-4848.

What Is Negligence in Premises Liability?

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), negligence is the foundation of the majority of personal injury claims, including premises liability cases; for these claims, the negligence concerns whether property owners failed to exercise reasonable care when managing their property and correctly ensure that their premises are safe for others to visit. If one party becomes injured due to a hazard on that property, such as a slippery floor resulting in the injured person tripping and hurting themselves, the injured party could bring a claim against the owner of the premises. Successful premises liability claims prove that a property’s dangerous conditions caused the plaintiff’s injuries and that these conditions existed due to the owner of the premises’ negligence regarding property maintenance and ownership.

Another thing worth noting is that if someone sustains injuries while on another individual’s property, the owner of the premises is not automatically negligent. Furthermore, the premises owner is not necessarily responsible for a person’s injuries if they happened on their property because of a hazardous condition. To demonstrate negligent behavior from the owner of the property, the plaintiff must prove that the owner knew, or reasonably ought to have known, about the property’s dangerous condition and did not take adequate measures to address the issue.

What Is Negligent Security Premises Liability?

If criminal activity occurred on a person’s property and the crime resulted in another individual getting injured, the property owner might be legally responsible if they failed to implement effective security measures. This aspect of the law, known as premises security liability, enables injured parties to bring a lawsuit against the property owner based on a duty of care imposed on the premises owner to provide reasonable security initiatives that safeguard legally permitted visitors from foreseeable and avoidable crimes. In addition to property owners, other responsible parties can also include:

  • Property managers
  • Security firms
  • Lessees

Gain a more comprehensive understanding of negligent security in the context of premises liability and find out how a seasoned personal injury lawyer can help injured parties with their legal claims by arranging a consultation with Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer in their New Hampshire, Vermont, or Florida offices.

What Is Negligent Security?

Inadequate security claims are lawsuits based on insufficient security measures in any type of property, including commercial or residential premises that lead to criminal acts, such as a sexual assault or armed robbery, by third parties that injure a visitor to the premises. Whether the property is publicly or privately owned does not matter. For instance, inadequate security incidents may take place in the following spaces:

  • Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
  • Factories and office workplaces
  • Gas stations
  • Educational institutions
  • Retail stores and shopping malls
  • Hospitals and other health care facilities
  • Playgrounds and parks
  • Hotels
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Banks
  • Apartment buildings

Examples of Inadequate Security

Insufficient security measures vary depending on the property type and specific property. The following are common examples of a lack of security:

  • Damaged gates or fences
  • Missing or insufficient lighting
  • Faulty door locks
  • Insufficient security guard levels
  • Poor training of security guards
  • Lack of security cameras or defective cameras
  • Security alarm malfunctions or failure to install an alarm system

What Is the Cause of Action for Negligent Security?

Plaintiffs seeking compensation for damages they have suffered a result of inadequate security may need to prove several elements in court. These elements generally include the following:

  • The property manager or owner did not take reasonable care to learn about similar criminal activities that previously took place at the premises or failed to advise visitors about these activities to help prevent injuries.
  • The plaintiff was legally allowed on the property at the time of injury.
  • The premises owner breached a duty of care owed to visitors to provide reasonable security; per the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the reasonable security test applied by the courts considers a specific business’s conditions of security when an incident occurs as opposed to the security measures applied by other businesses.
  • The plaintiff sustained injuries and other damages, such as damage to property and loss of earnings, due to the acts of a third party that a reasonable person could have foreseen.
  • If the owner of the property had not breached the above duty, the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred.

Foreseeability in Negligent Security Cases

Key in cases involving inadequate security is the concept of foreseeability. Below is a summary of factors courts may use in determining whether property owners could have foreseen criminal activity on their premises:

  • Whether the criminal activity that led to the plaintiff suffering damages was similar to previous crimes that occurred in the same place; for instance, if several violent assaults took place in the property’s parking lot, additional assaults are likely to be foreseeable, whereas if nonviolent muggings occurred but no assaults, then a violent assault might not be foreseeable
  • The frequency of law enforcement officials visiting a property
  • The rate of crime in the area surrounding the property
  • The time gap between the previous crimes and the injury in question
  • Whether the previous crimes were of a personal nature or linked to property

Contact a Vermont, New Hampshire, and Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today

When a person incurs damages from a crime committed at a property because of a lack of security measures there, the premises owner could be liable for that individual’s injuries. If injured as a result of inadequate security, consider reaching out to a seasoned personal injury lawyer to fight for your legal rights and gain assistance with building a case. Learn more about premises liability negligent security in Vermont, Florida, or New Hampshire and find out how a personal injury attorney may be able to assist with these legal claims by contacting Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer at (802) 457-4848.