Louisiana & Texas Personal Injury Lawyers

Negligent Security Overview

When you’re at another person’s property, they have the obligation to keep you safe to the best of their ability. Irresponsible property owners with negligent security in place can harm others. So, if you’re involved in one of these accidents, it’s your right to sue and receive compensation for the damages you suffer.

Not every case is the same. Before you start thinking about filing a lawsuit, you need to understand what counts as negligent security – examples, types of compensation, and more. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about negligent security lawsuits.

What Is Negligent Security?

Negligent security is a legal concept that describes a situation where a property owner or occupier is accountable for failing to implement adequate security measures, where the failure ultimately results in harm or injury to others on the property. It usually occurs when a person is hurt or becomes a victim of a crime as a result of the property owner's carelessness in keeping the area safe and secure. Cases involving assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, or other criminal activities that may have been avoided or reduced with proper security measures frequently involve charges of negligent security.

An allegation of negligent security must prove a number of things. These include proving that the property owner owed a duty of care to take reasonable security precautions, that the owner violated that duty by not taking the necessary precautions, that the violation directly contributed to the harm suffered, and that damages were incurred as a result. The precise security measures required differ from case to case based on elements including the property's characteristics, the neighborhood, and the potential hazards. The right lighting, security cameras, access control systems, security professionals who have received the necessary training, and reaction protocols are a few examples of adequate security measures.

What Is a Property Owner’s Duty of Care?

A property owner is required by law to take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of anybody who is on their land. The responsibility of care is the usual name for this obligation. Depending on the particulars and the visitor's legal status (such as invitee, licensee, or trespasser), the scope of this duty may change. To prevent harm to visitors, property owners are generally obligated to take reasonable measures to identify and remedy any potential dangers or dangerous circumstances on their property.

The duty of care may include obligations such as maintaining the property in a safe condition, repairing or warning of any known hazards, conducting regular inspections, providing adequate security measures, and complying with applicable building codes and safety regulations. Property owners are also expected to exercise reasonable care in their actions to prevent foreseeable harm.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners or occupiers responsible for injuries or damages that occur on their property due to unsafe conditions or their negligence in maintaining a reasonably safe environment. The term "premises" refers to any type of property, including private residences, commercial buildings, public spaces, and even vacant land.

The specific duty of care owed by a property owner depends on the legal classification of the visitor. For example, invitees, who are individuals invited onto the property for business purposes, such as customers or clients, are owed the highest duty of care. Property owners must ensure that the premises are reasonably safe, warn of any known hazards, and address any dangerous conditions promptly. Licensees, such as social guests, are owed a slightly lower duty of care, while trespassers are owed the least duty of care but still should not be intentionally harmed.

What Are Common Examples of Negligent Security?

Some common examples of negligent security include:

Insufficient lighting in parking lots or walkways, which increases the risk of criminal activity and assaults. Poorly lit areas provide cover for criminals and make it difficult for individuals to detect potential threats or seek help in case of an emergency.

Inadequate or malfunctioning security systems, such as broken surveillance cameras, faulty alarm systems, or malfunctioning access control measures. When these systems are not properly maintained or are non-functional, they fail to deter or detect criminal activity, leaving individuals vulnerable to harm.

Lack of trained security personnel or improper security staffing levels. When properties such as shopping malls, hotels, or entertainment venues do not employ enough security personnel or fail to provide proper training, delayed response times or ineffective security measures may result and increase the risk of crimes going unnoticed or unresolved.

Failure to address known security risks or previous incidents. If a property owner is aware of previous criminal activities or security concerns on their premises but fails to take appropriate action, such as implementing additional security measures or warning visitors about potential risks, it can be considered negligent security.

Where Can Negligent Security Happen?

Some common places where negligent security can happen include:

Commercial establishments. These comprise malls, office complexes, hotels, dining businesses, and retail stores. These areas may be exposed to criminal activities including theft, assault, or vandalism due to inadequate security measures, such as a lack of security personnel, low illumination, broken surveillance systems, or lax entry controls.

Public spaces. In parks, parking lots, transit hubs, and other outdoor locations there may be a lack of protection. People are more likely to become victims of crimes like mugging, robbery, or harassment if these areas are dark or lack security patrols, emergency call boxes, or surveillance cameras.

Educational institutions. Universities, colleges, and schools are not exempt from careless security. Students, employees, and visitors may be exposed to incidents like violence, theft, or illegal entry if proper security measures, such as limited access to facilities, visitor management systems, or emergency response protocols, are not put in place.

Residential properties. Apartment buildings, condos, and gated communities may also have lax security. Residents may be exposed to potential threats such as burglaries, assaults, or unwanted invasions if there are insufficient security measures in place, such as broken locks, poor illumination, a lack of surveillance equipment, or failure to address known security risks.

Is Negligent Security a Criminal Action?

Negligent security is generally not considered a criminal action but is instead a civil matter. It involves the legal concept of a property owner or occupier failing to meet their duty of care to provide adequate security measures, which results in harm or injury to individuals on their premises. Negligent security cases typically fall under the realm of personal injury law and are addressed through civil lawsuits seeking compensation for damages.

Even while criminal acts, such as assaults or robberies, may be connected to events that result from careless security, the act of careless security itself is not a crime. However, there may be situations when it could be pursued as a criminal matter, such as in cases involving fraud or purposeful endangerment, if a property owner's actions or omissions amount to willful wrongdoing or gross carelessness. Nevertheless, civil litigation is typically utilized to remedy negligent security in order to seek compensation for damages brought on by the property owner's inability to maintain a properly safe environment.

Who Can Bring a Negligent Security Claim?

Individuals who have suffered harm or injury due to inadequate security measures on a property can bring a negligent security claim. This typically includes visitors, customers, or invitees who were lawfully present on the property at the time of the incident and can demonstrate that their injuries were a direct result of the property owner's failure to provide reasonable security measures. Additionally, employees who have been harmed due to negligent security in the workplace may also have the right to bring a claim against their employer for failing to provide a safe work environment.

What Compensation Can You Get for a Negligent Security Claim?

Generally, compensation in negligent security claims is aimed at helping you recover losses and damages you have suffered as a result of inadequate security measures. Some types of compensation you may seek include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Other damages

Is There a Deadline for Bringing a Negligent Security Claim?

Yes, there is typically a deadline, known as the statute of limitations, for bringing a negligent security claim. The specific deadline can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim involved. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state and can range from a few months to several years.

Hire the Best Lawyers for a Negligent Security Lawsuit

To successfully win a negligent security lawsuit, you need the assistance of a law firm experienced in handling such cases. They possess the legal knowledge, resources, and expertise necessary to navigate the complexities of the legal system, gather evidence, build a strong case, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

At Morris & Dewett, we understand the impact that negligent security can have on you and your family. We are dedicated to seeking justice and ensuring that our clients receive the compensation they deserve for the harm they have suffered. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case, gather evidence, and build a strong legal strategy tailored to your specific situation.

Contact us today and get a free consultation.