You could have a claim for negligent or inadequate security if you have suffered an injury on a business premises because of a third party’s criminal actions. A business premises can be an apartment complex, a hotel, a restaurant or a store. Premises security liability or negligent security claims refer to the civil liability that is imposed on operators or owners of businesses for the foreseeable criminal behavior of a third party against an individual. To learn more information on premises liability, review our informational page – Premises Liability and Inadequate Security in Virginia.
The Meaning of Inadequate Security
Not having adequate security on a business property can have life-changing and devastating consequences for violent crimes victims. The most serious injuries are not usually physical. Instead, they are the psychological and emotional result of being victimized by the assailant of a violent crime. The victims might recover against the negligent operators or owners of a property for the physical injuries, medical costs, and emotional and mental injuries that they suffered because of the crimes. The damages for which the victims can recover depend on the laws in the state where the crime occurred.
Claims for inadequate security are the fastest growing type of tort liability. Sexual assault and rape claims account for most of these cases. However, lawsuits might be filed for any criminal act such as assault, burglary, murder, robbery and more.
The Meaning of Foreseeability
Negligent or inadequate security liability is predicated on the question of foreseeability. Property operators or owners are obligated to consider the risks of crime as they manage the everyday operations of their businesses. Due to this, they have a duty to be aware of the criminal activity on their property and to take action to protect the people on their property from it. Generally, business owners have to know or should know about the risks before they are required to take adequate steps to prevent it.
For example, property owners in areas where there are a substantial number of crimes near or on the premises could be held liable for not taking the appropriate measures to protect against the criminal activity. Even business owners who do not know about these crimes could be liable if they did not act reasonably to find out about the criminal activity.
Classifications of Property Owners
A property owner’s duties fall into three classifications: administrative, external security and interior security. Owners must first have an adequate system for collecting and reporting data about criminal activity that occurs on the premises. They should have a security procedure and policy in place, prescreen workers, and sufficiently supervise and train those workers.
Based on the level of security necessary, property owners might be obligated to control building access, install security systems, keep control of master and spare keys, maintain locks and maintain sufficient interior lighting. Additionally, owners need to have some control over access to their property, control overgrown foliage, hire external security personnel if necessary and maintain adequate exterior lighting in access and parking areas. Liability is usually the result of the property owner being unaware of the risks of crime or ignoring the evidence of crime and not coordinating a security practice that is implemented into the everyday operations of the business.
The Brown Firm PLLC Can Help You
If you are a victim of a violent crime on a business premises because of the negligence of the property owner, it is important for you to know your legal rights as soon as possible because there are time limitations on pursuing negligent or inadequate security claims. Call our firm or send us a message online to schedule a free, private consultation to discuss your case.