How Negligent Security Claims Factor Into Premises Liability Law
Every property owner has a duty to protect welcome guests and patrons from unreasonable dangers and hazards. Not only does this include slippery stairs, loose carpeting, falling objects, and the other usual issues in a premises liability claim, but this duty also includes preventing criminal activities that can harm guests. Namely, a property owner must take reasonable steps to stop theft and assault on their property by providing ample security.
Security can be improved on a piece of property by:
- Hiring security personnel.
- Setting up security cameras.
- Using security gates to keep out unwelcome visitors.
- Installing alarms that trigger when side and rear doors open.
- Lighting any dark areas adequately.
- Requiring guests to sign in or out.
- Regularly locking doors and windows when not expecting more guests.
Failing to provide adequate security measures could make it possible for guests affected by criminal activities to file a claim for damages against the property owner. This is known as a negligent security claim, which prove especially useful when the criminal offender cannot be identified.
A plaintiff in a negligent security claim may be able to cite the following as damages:
- Medical costs if assaulted.
- Lost wages if assault causes serious injuries.
- Cost of any items stolen or broken.
- Emotional trauma and physical suffering.
Are Negligent Security Claims Valid for Residential Properties?
Many security measures are representative of the security one might expect to see at a commercial property, such as an office building or retail store. This does not, however, make homeowners immune to negligent security claims. They have the same responsibility as any property owner to take reasonable steps to protect their guests from crime.
For example, George spends the night at Hank’s house. He is told to sleep on the couch in the living room. George notes the front door does not have a working lock, and Hank tells him it has not locked for years. During the night, an unknown stranger enters the front door and assaults George before leaving. There could be valid grounds for George to hold Hank accountable in a negligent security claim since he made no effort to protect his guest from danger.
Do you need to file a negligent security claim after being assaulted, robbed, or otherwise harmed on someone else’s property? The Pittman Firm, P.A. and our Panama City premises liability attorney can help you understand your rights, analyze the evidence at hand, and file a claim for a fair amount of damages. To put a free case evaluation on your calendar, contact our firm today.