You never know what is going to happen the next time you go to a grocery store, movie theater or Starbucks. When you are on someone else’s property, many things could go wrong, including becoming a victim of a crime. And the scariest part is that the owner or occupier of the property may not have taken reasonably expected and legally required security measures to prevent such types of criminal activity as assault, robbery, or sexual assault.
Yes, we are talking about negligent security measures, the area of premises liability law that entitles you to sue the landowners or possessors of the property, on which the criminal act occurred, to recover damages.
Can you hold a property owner liable for criminal acts of third parties?
As we have discussed previously, you can hold a property owner liable for criminal acts of a third party, but you will have to prove that the owner or occupier of that property breached the duty to offer reasonable security measures to protect his/her visitors, customers, and guests from foreseeable crimes of third parties.
Today, we invited our Los Angeles premises liability attorney from the Compass Law Group, LLP to explain what counts as negligent security and what you need to prove to sue the owner or occupier of the property where the crime occurred.
Why sue the property owner or occupier?
But before we get to the meat and potatoes of negligent security, let us explain why bringing a premises liability lawsuit against the owner or occupier of the property makes more sense than suing the perpetrator who committed the crime.
First of all, you can sue both, and thus maximize the value of your compensation. And second of all, it is much easier to locate the owner or occupier of the property than a third party who committed the crime unless the perpetrator has been arrested. In addition to that, most property owners and occupiers carry some type of insurance for victims of crime, which means you may be able to recover damages through the property owner’s insurance coverage.
What is negligent security?
“Many people in Los Angeles and all across California are rather confused by what constitutes negligent security,” says our experienced premises liability attorney in Los Angeles.
The terms “adequate security” and “negligent security” can be rather subjective, but it is vital to establish whether or not the owner or possessor of the property had taken all reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal acts by third parties. Some of the most obvious and common security measures that must exist at properties are well-trained and sufficient security personnel, adequate lighting, functioning and strong security hardware such as locks, fences, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and others.
How to establish negligent security?
In order to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner or occupier of the property on which the criminal act occurred, you will have to establish that the landowner or possessor owed you a duty of care and that the duty was breached due to the owner or occupier’s failure to exercise reasonable care and install certain security measures to prevent or minimize the risk of criminal activity of third parties.
Only a Los Angeles premises liability attorney from a reputable and respectable law firm will be able to establish that the owner or occupier’s security measures were negligent and inadequate as well as establish the link between your damages and injuries and the breach of duty.
It is also critical to establish the foreseeability of your particular incident, as it needs to be proven that the owner or occupier of the property was or should have been aware of the risk of such types of criminal activity on his/her property and that certain security measures would help prevent or minimize the risk of such incidents.