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Elderly Man Assaulted and Robbed on Downtown Cultural Trail

Steve Wagner

Earlier this month, a 70-year-old man from Indianapolis was assaulted and robbed while he sat in his wheelchair on the downtown Cultural Trail, one block away from the American Legion Mall during the daytime hours. The man left a statement with police officers informing them that although the three assaulters did not leave any injuries on him, they did grab his arm and steal several hundreds of dollars in cash from him.

Many of the same trail users have told local news outlets that they try to be aware of their surroundings, walk with other people if possible, and call local police when something seems uncomfortable or out of sorts. Most Indiana park and recreation agencies have set policies and post rules to ensure a safe experience for bicyclists, joggers and walkers of all ages and abilities.

Public and Private Property Owners May Be Legally Responsible To Provide Safe Premise

Some may not realize that when a property or establishment is not safe and causes an injury, robbery, assault, rape, shooting, murder and other types of serious crime, or even case of wrongful death upon someone, both public and private property owners may be liable and held accountable for their negligence. These incidents of foreseeable criminal behavior can occur anywhere, even where a person has a reasonable expectation to feel safe. When these areas become dangerous, the result can be devastating because innocent people will get hurt, assaulted or killed.

Common Indiana locations where negligent security has been found include:

  • Apartment Buildings and Rental Properties
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Bars and Nightclubs
  • Recreation Areas (Campgrounds, Beaches, and Public Parks)
  • Restaurants and Fast Food Stops
  • Concert Venues
  • Hotels and Motels
  • Parking Lots (Including Parking Center Elevators and Stairwells)
  • Bike Trails, Running and Walking Paths
  • Retail Stores and Shopping Centers
  • Sporting Events
  • Universities and College Dorms

Property owners should be proactive and prepare to prevent any possible crimes that could take place on their premises. This is especially true in locations where crime is high or there is a known threat to customers, residents, or users.

Businesses have a legal responsibility to provide a safe environment for their patrons. Assailants will often take advantage of a property’s lack of lighting, security personnel, or cameras to rob or assault unsuspecting guests. In those areas, owners should take extra precautions to keep Hoosiers safe. A negligent security claim will likely arise when a property owner is aware of dangers or potentially dangerous event and the owner does not act promptly or proactively to protect their guests.

Making a Negligent Security Claim

Victims who were injured on property other than their own may be able to file a negligent security claim against the property owner and recover damages for their injuries or a loved one’s death.

Typically, a negligent security claim alleges that a property owner or business establishment failed to implement appropriate security measures which would have likely deterred a criminal from perpetrating a violent crime. Security measures include police or security car patrols, video surveillance, foot patrols, warning signs, fencing, lighting, background checks and posting of security guards. Common examples of inadequate security reported are typically a failure on the property of business owner’s end. They may have failed to fix broken locks, doors, windows, gates, or fencing barriers or install adequate lighting in entryways, hallways, staircases, parking lots, or exit areas or failed to increase security measures after repeated crime.

Negligent security cases are a unique area of premises liability law. These cases ask the question of whether reasonable measures were taken to safeguard the security of all citizens. For the gentleman who was attacked on Cultural Trail, an Indiana public area, it will be important to find out all the facts before a claim could be made. Since unfortunately crimes like these are common, the real issue is determining if the property owner or occupant is liable for negligent security and to determine whether or not that crime could have been prevented.

Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who is comfortable and knowledgeable deciding what actions are “reasonable,” based on the thousands of precedents relevant to the case at hand is often necessary. A review of the following will be made prior to determining the next steps in a negligent security case.

  • The victim was a tenant, customer, or guest that was authorized to be on the premises
  • The defendant had a legal or contractual duty to keep the premises reasonably safe
  • The crime would likely not have occurred if the defendant had provided adequate security
  • As a result of the defendant’s negligence, they were harmed by the criminal acts of a third party

Compensation can be recovered for negligent security and premises liability claims. It is important to protect a victim’s recovery by helping them recover for past, current, and any future damages such as:

  • Diminished Enjoyment of Life
  • Lost Income and Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Out of Pocket Costs That Incurred Because of Your Injury
  • Pain and Suffering

Each individual’s case is unique and there may be other damages involved in creating a claim. But it’s important to realize that nearly always the property owner will reject against a victim’s claim for damages. The owner’s insurer will blame the attacker for injuries and push the courts to believe that the property owner shouldn’t be liable. A one-on-one consultation with an experienced attorney from Wagner Reese will help provide the needed resources to resolve a case quickly.

Skilled Indianapolis Lawyers Representing Negligent Security Victims

If you were hurt or your loved one was killed in a location where security is an issue, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure that you are pursuing a fair and full recovery.

The attorneys at Wagner Reese bring justice to wrongfully injured victims of negligent security and holds property owners responsible for those injuries and outcomes. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440. The call is free and we do not get paid any fees or costs unless we recover for you.


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