Property owners, businesses, and public buildings that employ security measures are required to ensure the safety of their tenants, customers, or guests, and can be responsible for personal injuries that could have been prevented by adequate security measures. Negligent security claims arise when a person is assaulted or criminally victimized in an establishment or grounds that were supposed to be secured.
Negligent security claims may entail property liability laws, since the proprietor or owner is required to foresee any potential risks to the individuals lawfully present on their premises and to take measures to prevent those risks from becoming incidents or injuries. This pertains to apartment complex owners, hotels, shopping malls, retail establishments, home developments (particularly gated communities), bars, and restaurants.
Security Measures that May Be Involved
There are several factors that may influence a negligent security claim. Some of the most common causes of accidents resulting from negligent security include:
- Negligent guards – The security personnel who patrol the premises need to be vigilant and mindful of their duties. Criminals preparing a break-in or other illegal activities may watch the premises to learn guards’ patrol routes and shift changes, so regularly adjusting routes to discourage complacency is one measure guard managers might take to reduce the likelihood of a security breach.
- Faulty equipment – Security cameras are only effective if they work correctly and have a sound back-end system for monitoring their fields of view. Motion sensors and door-locking mechanisms must also be regularly checked to ensure they are operating correctly.
- Entry systems – This may include ID badges or key fobs, and any lost entry passes should be reported quickly to security personnel. Any compromised entry devices should be able to be disabled remotely in case they are stolen or lost.
- Ineffective monitoring – This may include poorly positioned cameras resulting in blind spots, poor lighting, or defective security terminals. All security equipment should be checked regularly for vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
Negligent security practices endanger the safety and wellbeing of residents, guests, and any other person lawfully present on the premises. Most of the personal injuries that occur as a result of negligent security are due to violent crimes, including assaults, rapes, robberies, and murders.
Claiming Damages for Negligent Security
If you’ve suffered a personal injury on a property that should have been secure, it’s important to understand your rights and how to prove negligence. Successful charges of negligence depend on proving three things:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care to act with reasonable safety. In negligent security claims, the property owner or security personnel owe their tenants and guests a duty of care to ensure that no one unlawfully enters the premises or endangers the occupants.
- The defendant breached this duty of care in some fashion. This may include a guard neglecting to complete his patrol rounds effectively or a security officer failing to notice security equipment or cameras had been compromised.
- The victim’s injuries were a direct result of that breach. If someone assaulted and injured the victim and would not have been able to do so had effective and reasonable security been present, they will likely be found liable for the damages.
Premises security must be taken seriously at all times, and negligent security may entitle victims to compensation. If a criminal directly caused your injury, they will face criminal charges for their actions, but the security personnel or property owner who should have prevented it in the first place may be liable for a civil action for negligent security.
The attorneys of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann believe that negligent security personnel and negligent property owners need to be held accountable for the injuries they allow to occur on their premises. Get in touch with our legal team to review a case or if you have any questions about a possible negligent security claim. We will ensure that everyone responsible for your injuries is held accountable for their actions.