Negligent security crimes can be extremely traumatic for victims. Robberies, assaults, and especially rapes can leave both physical and emotional scars for years to come. These cases can be complex, so you should choose an attorney familiar with navigating such complexities.
The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys of Wagner Reese have more than 50 years of experience in representing people who have been through a difficult experience. When you hire one of our experienced lawyers to represent you in negligent security claims, we will show the insurance companies you’re serious about receiving the full and fair settlement or jury award to which you are entitled.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers and discuss the options available for your case. We are here to fight for you, no matter what you have been through, and we want to help you get back on your feet. We have a reputation for excellent, thorough, effective representation, so talk to the law firm of Wagner Reese today to meet with our legal team.
Call (888) 204-8440 for your complimentary consultation. Our services are free to you until we secure your compensation.
What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a subset of premises liability law. Property owners, such as landlords and business owners, have an obligation to keep visitors safe from any foreseeable dangers. If the owner does not uphold this duty, they can be held responsible for any injuries or losses suffered by the victim in the event that something tragic occurs. A claim is filed after a crime, such as an attack or robbery, is committed by a third party on the property that could have been avoided had the adequate security measures been in place. This claim is filed against the property owner rather than the person or people who committed the crime. The owner is only responsible if the crime is considered to be a foreseeable event.
Examples of Negligent Security
Robberies, physical attacks, and sexual assaults are often outcomes that lead to negligent security claims. The allegation is that the property owner did not adequately protect the victim from an event that should reasonably have been foreseen.
The basis of this claim could be a number of things, including:
- Incompetent or insufficient security force
- Faulty or insufficient lighting
- Camera or surveillance equipment lacking, malfunctioning, or not monitored
- Not conducting thorough background checks on new hires
- Missing or broken locks or alarms
- Inadequate fences
- Reaction to similar crimes in the past did not occur or was insufficient
- Victims were not given warning of a known threat
- Poor response time to react before, during, or after the crime
- Security personnel was intoxicated, unqualified, inattentive, or absent
- Inadequate guest or visitor screening
- Disregarded building codes, for example, occupancy limits
- Overselling the level of security
Where Does Negligent Security Happen?
Negligent security cases most commonly occur in parking lots and garages, apartment buildings, and office buildings. ATM locations, shopping malls, and hospitals can also be susceptible to these types of cases.
Here is a list of other places that could be liable in a negligent security lawsuit:
- College campuses/dorms
- Nursing homes
- Resorts or cruise ships
- Bus, train, and subway stations
- Liquor stores
- Sports and concert venues
- Gas stations
- Theme parks
- Public parks
- Highway rest areas
What Is Needed to Prove Negligent Security?
There are several elements you need to prove for a strong negligent security case:
- The victim was on the premises legally (as a tenant or authorized guest)
- The property owner had a duty to the victim to provide adequate security and failed to do so
- The crime that was committed was reasonably foreseeable and would not have occurred if adequate security measures were in place
- The victim suffered physical or financial damages that affected their quality of life
- The victim’s suffering was a result of the property owner’s failure
Foreseeability is one of the most important factors to prove in a negligent security case. Many cases will use prior criminal activity in the surrounding area as insight into whether the crime was foreseeable. However, different crimes may not necessarily fit the bill. For example, a series of robberies may not make a future rape foreseeable. Other features include the geographic location of similar crimes and how much time has passed since the last crime took place. Additionally, the circumstances of the crime are taken into consideration. If these robberies all took place at night, and the property owner simply installs daytime security, the security likely will not be considered adequate if an incident occurs.
A case is strengthened by expert witnesses, such as public safety experts and criminologists. These safety experts will look at public records and crime statistics to prove that the property owner was (or should have been) aware of the crime risk in the area and did not act to provide adequate security.
What Counts as Adequate Security?
“Security” is a broad term and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every business or property. Circumstances heavily influence what level and types of security are considered necessary for property owners to insulate themselves from negligent security claims. For example, popular nightclubs usually employ bouncers, sports stadiums have armed guards and metal detectors, and chain restaurants likely don’t need to employ any designated security personnel. While the level and types of security are all different, they could all very well be providing adequate security because their specific property is being effectively monitored and controlled.
Property owners must also be aware of any changing circumstances. For instance, if there has been a spree of muggings in the area, that can be considered proof that a similar incident could occur on their premises. As such, they have a duty to their patrons and visitors to counter with adequate security measures. Note that if the crimes are all happening at night, it is not enough to hire a daytime security guard (assuming, of course, people are expected to be on the premises at night, such as late-shift workers).
Some states have statutes laying out types of actions businesses can take to protect themselves from negligent security. In these states, for example, convenience store owners can protect themselves by installing security camera systems, using a drop safe, and installing a sign informing patrons that the cash register contains less than $50.
About Our Indianapolis Negligent Security Attorneys
Partners Stephen Wagner, Jason Reese, and Stephanie Cassman, along with the entire Wagner Reese team, can handle your negligent security claim using their years of experience and track record of results.
Call Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440 for your complimentary case consultation!