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Understanding Negligent Security Claims


Definition of Negligent Security

Negligent security refers to a property owner's failure to implement adequate security measures to protect individuals from foreseeable harm. This concept is rooted in premises liability law, which holds property owners accountable for injuries that occur on their property due to unsafe conditions. In the context of negligent security, this could mean:

  • insufficient lighting,
  • poor door locks,
  • inadequate security features,
  • lack of surveillance cameras, or
  • inadequate security personnel.

Duty of Care & Negligent Security

The duty of care in negligent security cases revolves around the property owner's responsibility to maintain a safe environment. This duty varies depending on the nature of the property and the relationship between the property owner and the victim.

For instance, landlords have a higher duty of care towards their tenants, while business owners must ensure the safety of their customers and employees. The duty of care is determined by assessing what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm.

In legal terms, the duty of care is established by examining factors such as:

  • the location of the property,
  • the history of criminal activity in the area, and
  • the measures taken by the property owner to mitigate risks.

For example, a property owner in a high-crime area may be expected to install security cameras, hire security personnel, and ensure proper lighting. Failure to take such measures could be seen as a breach of duty, making the property owner liable for any resulting harm.

Other Elements Required to Prove a Negligent Security Claim

Once the duty of care is established, the plaintiff must show that the property owner breached this duty by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure safety. The breach of duty must be directly linked to the harm suffered by the plaintiff, which requires showing that the lack of security measures directly contributed to the incident.

Causation and foreseeability are critical elements in proving a negligent security claim. Causation involves demonstrating that the property owner's failure to provide adequate security directly caused the harm suffered by the plaintiff. This requires showing a clear link between the lack of security measures and the incident. For example, if a property owner failed to install security cameras and a burglary occurred, the plaintiff must show that the absence of cameras directly contributed to the crime.

Foreseeability refers to the property owner's ability to anticipate potential risks and take appropriate measures to prevent harm. This involves demonstrating that the property owner should have reasonably anticipated the risk of harm based on factors such as the location of the property, the history of criminal activity in the area, and any previous incidents. If the property owner fails to take reasonable steps to address foreseeable risks, they can be held liable for any resulting harm.

The plaintiff must also show that the negligence led to their injuries and losses. This can be established by showing what injuries you suffered as well as what the economic and non-economic damages sustained are.

Damages in Negligent Security Claims

In negligent security cases, plaintiffs can claim various types of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The goal of compensation is to make the plaintiff whole by covering the costs associated with the incident. This includes both economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Compensation in negligent security cases is calculated based on the severity of the harm suffered by the plaintiff and the extent of the property owner's negligence. This involves assessing the impact of the incident on the plaintiff's life, including any long-term physical, emotional, or financial consequences. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the property owner for particularly egregious conduct and deter similar behavior in the future.

Injured in a negligent security accident? Get in touch with our team by calling (888) 918-9890 or completing our online contact form.

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