Have you been a victim of a crime in a public space? If so, think about this question: if the building had had adequate security, could the crime have been prevented?
At Johnnie Bond Law, we have helped dozens of clients across the Washington, D.C. area seek compensation for negligent security claims. If you’ve suffered an injury due to inadequate security, contact our team today for a free consultation with an inadequate security lawyer.
What Is a Negligent Security Case?
Business and property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their properties are safe for visitors. One essential aspect of maintaining a safe environment is taking necessary safety protocols.
Not every business needs to have a team of security guards or a high-end security system. However, companies that keep cash on their premises — such as banks or grocery stores — should have adequate security protocols.
Similarly, organizations that may be prone to intruders — such as college campuses or hotels — should also prioritize security. In these cases, adequate security measures can be as simple as having strategically placed streetlights near sidewalks and keeping a security team on call.
If you have been a victim of a crime in a public space, the property owner may be negligent for having inadequate security measures. Consulting with a negligent security lawyer can help you understand your rights and walk you through the claims process.
Criteria for a Negligent Security Case
Like all liability lawsuits, your negligent security case must meet specific criteria:
- Duty of care: the business owner had an obligation to provide adequate security to prevent foreseeable dangers.
- Breach of duty: The business owner failed to provide those adequate security measures.
- Resulting injury: The business owner’s failure to secure the premises led you to experience an injury.
- Resulting damages: Your injury led to physical, financial, or other damages.
If you’re unsure whether your case meets these conditions, our team can help.
Our Legal Team Can Help You Recover Compensation
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a lack of adequate security in a public space, you may be able to receive compensation from the property owner. However, presenting a compelling case is essential to obtaining the most compensation from your negligent security claim.
As a result, we recommend hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you throughout the claims process. Our Johnnie Bond Law team can provide the following services to assist your claim:
- Help you investigate and file the necessary paperwork
- Provide legal advice and guidance
- Communicate with the property owner and their insurance company on your behalf
- Represent you in court
We’d be happy to take the responsibility for your negligent security claim off your shoulders and give you adequate time to heal physically and emotionally from your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Inadequate and Negligent Security
What is negligent security?
Negligent or inadequate security is a failure to provide appropriate security measures to prevent foreseeable dangers from criminal activity. When a property owner knows or should know about the possibility of criminal activity in the area, they are expected to take reasonable measures to protect people they invite onto the property because it is foreseeable that those people could be harmed by criminal conduct such as assault.
What is reasonable security?
Reasonable security measures will differ depending on the circumstances. Property owners in an area known as a high crime area will have an obligation to provide more extensive security precautions than those in other areas. Examples of security measures that could be required as reasonable include:
- Functioning door and window locks on apartments
- Security cameras
- Adequate lighting in common areas including stairwells and garages
- Security fencing and working gates
- Security guards
In addition, reasonable security measures could also include policies to provide basic safety. For instance, a bar should establish a policy of not serving alcohol to patrons who appear to be aggressive or drunk. A business in a high crime area could establish a policy to have the security guard walk employees to their cars after dark.
What is foreseeable criminal activity?
Courts generally determine that criminal activity is foreseeable on a property if the owner knew or should have known that criminal actions are reasonably likely to occur. If police reports indicate violent attacks have occurred in the area, that should put property owners nearby on notice that people on their property face a greater than average risk of harm, and violent attacks should be considered foreseeable. If an area is known to be a place where crowds gather and fights break out frequently at night, then the risk of harm from a fight should be foreseeable to property owners.
Who can be held accountable in a negligent security case?
A premises liability attorney could review the circumstances of a case to determine which individuals or businesses may be liable for negligent security. This might include:
- The owner of the property
- The property manager responsible for maintenance
- The security company that provided equipment or personnel for security
- Someone who created a dangerous security condition by conduct such as disabling lights or alarms
Of course, the perpetrator of the crime would also be liable for the harm they caused, but it is often difficult or impossible to recover any meaningful compensation from an assailant.
Why sue the property owner if they did not commit a crime?
Property owners owe a duty to those they invite onto the property to provide safe premises. This is particularly true when the owners encourage people to come onto their property for their own financial gain, such as when they invite shoppers to make purchases in their stores or lease their property to tenants. Property owners are not held liable for committing the crime but for allowing a condition in which foreseeable criminal harm could occur.
Why not sue the person who committed the crime?
You can bring a lawsuit against the person who committed the crime if that person has been identified. However, in most cases, the criminal responsible for the injuries lacks the resources to provide adequate compensation to cover medical bills and other losses. Property owners have insurance to cover these types of losses.
Can you sue a security company?
If a security company is in any way at fault for the harm caused by criminal activity, they should be included in the lawsuit. For instance, if a security guard fell asleep or was watching a movie and failed to observe activity shown on a camera, the company who hired that guard could be liable.
What is the statute of limitations on negligent security cases?
In Maryland and DC, the victim of negligent security must file a claim within three years of the injury. In Virginia, claims must be prepared and filed within two years.
What do I need to establish in a negligent security action?
To recover compensation from a property owner for negligent security in the DMV, you must have evidence to prove that:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care because you were invited onto the property
- You suffered injuries caused by criminal activity on that property
- The criminal activity was foreseeable
- The injuries could have been made less likely or prevented by reasonable and appropriate security measures
- The owner failed to activate reasonable security measures
It is important to collect and preserve evidence as soon as possible after the injuries. Often after an incident, property owners will erase video footage and repair conditions that enabled the perpetrator to cause harm. An attorney can help you gather evidence before that can happen.
I hear a lot about “compensation” and “damages.” If I am the plaintiff in a negligent security case, what can I be compensated for?
If you can prove liability for negligent security, you can receive compensation for your losses, both tangible and intangible. Your tangible losses would include medical expenses and wages lost due to time missed from work. Your intangible losses involve factors such as pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment of favorite activities.
Contact an Experienced Negligent Security Attorney Serving the DC Area
If you’ve experienced an injury due to criminal activity, you may have grounds for an inadequate security claim. Contact our Johnnie Bond Law team today at 202-686-6803 to schedule a consultation with a negligent security lawyer.
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