No one can predict when or where a crime will occur. However, criminals generally seek easy targets, such as locations without security cameras, security guards, gates, street lights, or other safety features that discourage criminal activity. When a property owner neglects to institute these necessary security measures, individuals who visit the property might become more vulnerable to violent crimes. If you suffered an attack on someone else’s property due to a lack of adequate security, and the property owner had knowledge of the potential dangers, you could have a viable premises liability case and be entitled to compensation.
In a premises liability case, injured individuals are allowed to seek civil redress against a property owner for crimes and violent acts of third parties involving negligent security. The injury could arise from a number of things, including robbery, sexual assault, or battery, for example, and does not need to be caused only by criminal activity.
Examples of Inadequate Security
For a premises liability case to be successful, the plaintiff must show that a property owner or occupier failed to take the reasonable steps necessary to prevent the crime that resulted in the injuries suffered. When a crime like rape, assault, or abduction occurs due to inadequate security, the property owner can be held accountable.
Below are some common examples of negligent security:
- Failure to install or monitor security cameras
- Failure to warn visitors about any known risks or dangers
- Failure to respond to a security alert or emergency call
- Failure to provide adequately trained security personnel or patrol
- Failure to fix broken physical barriers, such as gates, locks, fences, or doors
- Failure to maintain an establishment’s appearance
- Failure to maintain adequate lighting in dark areas
Proving an Inadequate Security Case
When suing for negligent security, a plaintiff must show that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care or failed to provide adequate warnings to prevent visitors from sustaining injuries. It must also be shown that the plaintiff was lawfully present on the landowner’s property, that the landowner breached the duty to provide reasonable security, that this breach caused the incident to occur, and that the plaintiff suffered injuries that were foreseeable and preventable if adequate security had been provided.
In many cases, foreseeability is a vital element in negligent security cases. This is generally determined based on whether or not there were any prior crimes that shared similarities in the same location that the owner or possessor knew or should have known about. For example, if there were several prior rapes in a mall parking lot before the injuries in another case occurred, it is reasonable to expect that the most recent case was foreseeable. In this case, the property owner should have increased security to help prevent additional rapes from occurring. If there were prior criminal acts that occurred in the parking lot, but no rapes, the rape might not be considered foreseeable. A court might also consider how frequently law enforcement is called to a property and if the crimes were violent.
Common locations where inadequate security can occur include:
- Hotels, motels, or inns
- Parking lots
- Office buildings
- Apartment buildings
- Campus housing
- ATM machines and banks
- Parking ramps
- Private residences
Our DC Premises Liability Lawyers Can Help You Seek Justice
If you sustained injuries on someone else’s property due to inadequate security, you might be eligible for compensation for costs associated with the incident, including medical care and pain and suffering. At Simeone & Miller, LLP, our DC injury attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients and would be honored to do the same for you.
Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today.