A negligent security case usually arise out of an attack of some sort. When we begin analyzing potential negligent security cases, we try to determine if the attack was an isolated incident. We try to determine if there had been other attacks on the subject property, or other attacks in the nearby area.
Once a land owner knows or should know that there has been a history of attacks on their premises, or in the area surrounding their premises, then they have to adjust their security practices. A property that has been the site of murders, armed robberies, rapes, and other acts of violence should have multiple security measured in place – from uniformed (and potentially armed) officers, controlled entry and exit, surveillance, etc.
The normal rule of thumb is that if there has been a lot of crime in the area around the business, the business needs to have a greater security presence.
When Would A Landlord Or A Property Owner Not Be Held Liable In A Negligent Security Claim?
Usually the way that landlords or property owners escape liability is to convince a judge that they have no legal duty to protect the person who was injured on the premises. For example, a trespasser on premises does not have the same rights as someone who is invited there, or someone who lives or works there. A trespasser has very few rights and a trespasser does not enjoy the right to have the landlord protect them. So that would be an instance where a landlord would not be liable if someone is illegally trespassing. Another incident where the landlord might not be liable is if the apartment complex or businesses could show that it was not foreseeable that there would or could be an assault. If a commercial business was in a location where violent acts were very rare, and if the attack in question was the very first one on the property, then a landlord or property owner could, conceivably escape liability.
How Does A Criminal Investigation Impact A Negligent Security Claim?
Criminal investigations can be very helpful in negligent security cases. There is information typically gleaned from criminal investigation that can be helpful to us. Police investigations can sometimes provide us with valuable eyewitness information, cause of death, and crime scene information.
However, criminal investigation material is often not available to us if the criminal case is still unsolved or open. Nevertheless, we can still move forward with a negligent security case.
We know that once we look into it and determine that there should have been better security, we can usually pursue the case. In cases we have handled in the past, sometimes criminals are very helpful. On rare occasions, we have been successful in having criminals testify in cases that they selected certain locations from which to spring their attacks, based upon the absence or weakness of a particularly property’s security presence.
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