Pittston Negligent Security Lawyer
Although most people associate premises liability with slip and fall accidents, the reality is that this area of the law covers a wide range of accidents. For instance, victims of assault and other criminal offenses are often able to recover damages from the owner of the property where the offense occurred if that individual or entity did not use reasonable care to make the premises secure. For help determining whether you have standing to file a claim based on negligent security, please contact our dedicated Pittston negligent security lawyers today.
Negligent Security Lawsuits
Landowners and property managers are required by law to protect visitors from the foreseeable criminal activity of third parties by offering reasonable security measures. If a property owner fails to fulfill this duty and a crime that otherwise could have been prevented occurs on the premises, that individual could be required to compensate the victim for its failure to provide proper security.
Elements of a Negligent Security Claim
Although both commercial and residential landowners can be held liable for negligent security, the elements that plaintiffs have to prove against them in order to recover differs depending on the situation. For instance, universities have a substantial duty to offer safety measures on behalf of their students. Similarly, a retail business or other commercial tenant will usually have a duty to protect anyone that shops at that business from foreseeable criminal activity. A residential tenant, on the other hand, would most likely lack the ability to protect guests in their complex’s parking lot. The owner of that building, however, would have a duty to protect tenants from criminal attacks.
Whether the negligent party owns a commercial or residential property, he or she will only be held accountable for negligent security if the plaintiff can prove that:
- The property owner knew or should have known whether any prior, similar crimes occurred in the same location;
- The property owner failed to take steps to address the tenant’s risk of injury; and
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of foreseeable criminal activity on the property.
When assessing whether a crime was foreseeable, courts assess a wide range of factors, including how frequently law enforcement officers were called to the property, whether there was a history of crime in the area, the time between prior crimes and the crime in question, and whether the prior offenses were violent in nature or property-based. Courts will also look for evidence that the property owner:
- Used trained security patrols during business hours;
- Used proper lighting;
- Installed security cameras; and
- Utilized functioning security hardware like locks and restricted the ability to make duplicate keys to the common areas of residential complexes.
In the event that a property owner did not take these steps and a visitor suffered an injury as a result of criminal activity, there’s a good chance that the property owner could be held liable for related medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress.
Contact Our Office Today
If you were injured on someone else’s property during a criminal attack, you could be entitled to damages for negligent security. Please call the O’Donnell Law Offices at 570-821-5717 today to learn more.