After being assaulted or robbed by a bad actor, you will probably want to sue them for your injuries. But what happens if you can’t identify your assailant? What happens if you can sue them but there is no relevant insurance policy to pay for your damages? Because it is so difficult to file an effective personal injury claim against someone for a violent criminal offense, it is important to consider filing a negligent security claim against the owner of the property on which you were attacked.
A negligent security claim is a type of premises liability claim that argues that a property owner failed to take reasonable precautions to protect you from crime that occurs on their property. This type of claim is usually filed against commercial property owners – think things like retail stores, grocers, offices, parking garages, banks, etc. – but it can also apply in some residential settings like apartment complexes or private homes.
Different Types of Negligent Security
Negligent security comes in many forms, but the underlying concept is that the security measures are negligent if they don’t match what another reasonable proprietor would do in the same situation. Reasonable security measures will change depending on the type of property in question and its location. For example, a 24-hour convenience store in a neighborhood with a high crime rate should take more security precautions than a barbershop in the middle of a mall.
A few examples of negligent or inadequate security measures are:
- Untrained security personnel: Security guards are often the first and only line of defense between welcome guests and criminal offenders. If a guard is untrained or negligent on-the-job, then the proprietor who hired them could ultimately become partially liable for any harm their negligence fails to prevent.
- Missing security cameras: A closed-circuit television system should be installed in key areas around properties at risk of criminal activities. Most criminal offenders will go elsewhere upon noticing a camera. If no cameras are installed and there is no good reason why, then the property owner’s liability could go up.
- Unlocked doors: Any door that is meant to be kept locked at all times or to be accessed only with a passcode or key should be shut and locked as intended. When such a door is kept open or unlocked, it is practically an invitation to criminal trespassers.
- Poor lighting: Areas of a property with poor lighting inherently increase the risk of criminal activity there. Assaults and robberies can be deterred by installing lights as needed. Failing to take this simple step to improve security is inexcusable and should be met with a lawsuit if a visitor is harmed.
Who Pays for a Negligent Security Claim?
Commercial and residential property owners are required to buy all sorts of insurance policies related to their property. Within these policies are the avenues for compensation in a negligent security claim. Oftentimes, there will be a clause that describes coverage for third party bodily injury liability, which covers a broad spectrum of accidental or unexpected injuries. Everything from a slip and fall accident to a violent assault from a criminal on the grounds can be covered under this policy.
If you were assaulted on someone else’s property, do not believe them if they say they don’t have any money to pay for your damages. The truth is that they probably do have the money through their insurance policy. Even homeowners’ insurance policies can provide this sort of coverage, so you could even have a chance to sue the host of a social gathering if you were assaulted there.
Need help working on a negligent security claim in Laurel? Why not dial (301) 761-2007 and speak with an attorney from McGowan & Cecil, LLC? We have more than 120 years of combined experience representing the wronged and wrongfully injured in our communities! Free consultations are available to begin.