What types of damages can you get in a negligent security case?

Negligent security is a cause of action that can be filed as a result of a criminal act that occurs on a commercial property. Negligent security is sometimes known as premises security. It is a legal action filed against a property owner if an individual is hurt on the property due to unreasonable security. Specifically, it is an injury that occurs on a commercial property. Negligent security actions are typically filed against parking garages, shopping malls, apartment complexes, retail stores, hospitals and schools. For example, if someone was attacked in a local grocery store parking lot, the owner of the grocery store may be liable for her injuries. A negligent security action can arise from an assault, robbery, rape or battery. The owner of the commercial property may be responsible due to a lack of lighting in the area or previous knowledge of other crimes in the area.

Negligent Security Claim vs Premises Liability Claim

Negligent security is a branch of premises liability. In both situations, an individual is claiming that they were harmed on someone else’s property. In a premises liability claim, the injured party is seeking damages from the property owner due to an unsafe condition that existed on the property. In a negligent security claim, the injured party is seeking damages from the person who owns the property due to the wrongdoing or criminal acts of another third party.

What’s Needed to Establish a Negligent Security Action

While there is no existing law that requires people to protect other people from the criminal actions of unknown third parties, there are times when a special relationship does exist. The two most common special relationships that require a duty to protect other people from criminal acts are common carriers and passengers and innkeepers and guests. Plus, the states now agree that business owners have a duty to protect customers using basic protection from foreseeable criminal activity. Basic and reasonable protection includes things like security cameras, adequate lighting, security guards and security hardware, such as locks. Some states have statutes that outline security measures for business owners to implement.

So, what is a foreseeable criminal activity? There are three different types of foreseeable criminal activity. The first is the imminent harm test. That test means that business owners who see a customer in trouble must call the police. It’s a situation where the business owner must react to immediate harm to the customer. The second type of foreseeable criminal activity is the prior criminal incident test. This is a situation where the injured party can prove that the business owner knew or should have known of previous crimes on the property. The last situation is the totality of the circumstances test. This is a situation where the injured party can introduce facts, such as prior crimes on the property and the character of the neighborhood. Compensation in this type is available depending on the state where the lawsuit is filed. Injured parties can recover:

  • Noneconomic damages: non-economic damages include non-monetary losses that the injured party incurs, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering.
  • Economic damages: economic damages are monetary losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses and property damages.

It’s always wise to keep receipts of your losses and expenses. It’s also wise to document how the injury has impacted your daily life. Maintaining a record will help ensure that you get the damages that you deserve.

What Has to be Proven in a Negligent Security Claim?

In the Restatement Second of Torts, it is outlined that the plaintiff has to prove that the landowner or possessor of the property failed to implement reasonable diligence to provide enough warnings for customers to identify previous criminal activities on the premises. The injured party will have to prove that:

  • They were lawfully on the defendant’s property
  • The defendant breached the duty to provide adequate security
  • The injured party was injured due to a third party’s actions that the defendant should’ve been aware of
  • The injured party wouldn’t have incurred injures if it wasn’t for the defendant’s breach of duty to provide safety
  • The plaintiff must suffer tangible losses

If you’ve been injured on a commercial property due to unsafe conditions, it’s best to consult an attorney about it. An experienced inadequate security attorney can review your case and determine whether or not the property owner’s negligent actions were the direct cause of the crime or injury. An experienced inadequate security attorney can also let you know if you are entitled to any special damages.

Always contact an attorney in this situation. An attorney will be knowledgeable about negligent security and your specific state laws regarding negligent security. Plus, an attorney is a skilled negotiator and will be able to get you the most amount in special damages. Don’t go it alone. Talk to an attorney.


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