Negligent security refers to any time a property owner fails to take steps to prevent or reduce risks for anyone lawfully on the premises. The four most common examples are broken equipment, poor lighting, security guard mistakes, and failure to enact reasonable security measures. A personal injury lawyer in Rutherfordton can hold the liable party responsible for damages you experience due to security negligence.
If you were injured because some security feature was broken or malfunctioning, you could have the grounds for a negligent security case. Property owners are expected to maintain the premises, especially if there are known risks.
Broken Doors and Locks
Doors that won’t close or lock make it easier for someone to break in. This category of negligent security also applies to locks that aren’t working correctly, whether they’re physical or digital. Such conditions fall short of adequate security measures.
These issues can occur at apartment buildings, rental homes, hotels, guesthouses, hostels, dorms—anywhere a locked door is necessary to maintain safety.
Broken Gates or Fences
Criminals can get onto a property more easily if fences are down, gates aren’t operational, or entrances are simply left open. We’ve all been to an apartment complex with a gate that’s rendered irrelevant because it’s always open. This presents an opportunity for people who shouldn’t be there.
Some places install cameras but don’t maintain them. A property owner doesn’t need to have known definitively that a camera is broken; if they should have been aware of it, you can hold them liable for negligence.
Parking lots and garages, hallways, stairwells, and alleyways are known for this problem. Criminals can make use of these darkened areas to avoid notice and cause harm. A premises liability lawyer can help you hold property owners accountable for not installing sufficient lighting.
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In areas prone to crime, property owners should hire security guards to assist with protecting the premises and its visitors. Not hiring guards is a form of security negligence. Many places may need additional security, from places where people live, like apartment complexes, to recreational facilities like bars or arenas to businesses. Even poorly lit parking garages can leave patrons vulnerable to violent crime.
Additionally, don’t let a property owner convince you that they did enough just by hiring a guard. Security guards are obligated to put in the work to keep a place safe. Falling asleep on the job, failing to monitor cameras or go on rounds, or not answering calls for help are all examples of negligence.
Negligence can extend to hiring and training. A security guard could mean well but not be well equipped for the job. They also might have a history of failing in their duties. These are forms of negligence as well.
Negligence often boils down to what a reasonable person would have done versus what actually occurred. For example, the Journal of Applied Social Sciences notes that a common test of liability for negligent security includes considering the appropriateness of any security measures employed, such as cameras, guards, and lighting.
If your case involved a failure to take a reasonable step to reduce risk, you could have a case. That means not installing security cameras, putting up fences, adding security checks—whatever precautions could have been made but weren’t could represent negligent security.
Determining if you have grounds to take legal action for negligent security is one reason to potentially hire a lawyer for your personal injury case. Our negligent security attorneys can:
- Review police reports if one was filed
- Investigate the site of the accident
- Interview witnesses who noted the inadequate security
- Go over any photos or security footage
- Dig into the background of security guards or property owners
- Reconstruct what happened based on the evidence
- File a negligent security lawsuit
In fact, you may not know what form of negligent security is at the heart of your case. This is where a negligent security lawyer can start to fill in the blanks, identifying the moments where your ordeal could have been avoided.
What Is the Basis for a Negligent Security Case?
Any personal injury case, including ones based on security negligence, requires these four parts:
- You were owed a duty of care: You were on the property legally, such as by renting a hotel room, having a ticket to a game or show, or being a patron of a business.
- That duty of care was violated: The property owner didn’t take reasonable precautions to prevent harm.
- You suffered injuries: You can’t hold someone liable if no harm was caused.
- Your injuries entitle you to damages: Because you were hurt, you should receive compensation from the negligent party for not taking steps to prevent the crime.
Naturally, you can take legal action against the person who directly injured you, but negligent security cases allow you to recover compensation from those who contributed to the incident. This can prove especially helpful in situations where victims never know who perpetrated the crime. A lawyer from our firm can go over the types of damages available to you.
Evidence Can Disappear Fast
Because you have to connect the four elements of negligence through evidence, it’s important to act quickly. Proof can get lost or forgotten in premises liability cases. Witnesses might not recall when they noticed something was broken or missing. Physical evidence like debris or broken equipment could get moved or fixed. In some cases, property owners, security guards, or security businesses even work to erase evidence of negligence.
Preserving proof that you were not appropriately protected is something a personal injury lawyer can do for you. From obtaining official records to taking down witness statements to ensuring liable parties don’t conceal their guilt, we can take care of it.
If you suspect negligence made a crime possible, contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC. Our premises liability lawyers can review your case for free and talk about the types of negligent security that could have been at play. We can build up evidence to hold property owners and other parties liable for injuries and losses. This shouldn’t have happened to you. Let us figure out why it did and seek the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.