When you go to the grocery store, relax in bed in your apartment, or are strolling through the parking lot to your car, you expect to be safe. You assume that the property owner has done their due diligence and has ensured that all guests will be safe from attack or assault. Sadly, not all property owner’s take this responsibility seriously, and some allow their guests to become the victim of negligent security.
If the owner of a business you were shopping at, your landlord, or the owner of a gym allowed there to be a lapse in security and you were harmed as a result, then you may be able to file a claim against them. Recovering damages may be the only way for you to recover financially from your injuries, emotional trauma, and robbed belongings. At The Lenahan Law Firm, our Dallas negligent security attorneys work diligently to make sure that our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you want outstanding legal representation, call our firm at (214) 295-1008.
Property owners and managers have a duty to keep their visitors safe at all times. If they fail in this duty and are negligent in their upkeep of the property, then it could be considered a case of negligent security. These claims allow visitors to recover damages after being injured on a property. However, your relationship with the property and the owner can impact your ability to file a claim. There are three kinds of visitors, and property owners have different legal requirements for each of them.
Invitees:An invitee is someone who enters a property with the knowledge and consent of the property owner. They must be on the property for the mutual benefit of themselves and the property owner. This means that you would be considered an invitee if you went to the grocery store to pick up supplies for dinner. Property owners must provide the invitee with the utmost duty of care, meaning that any unsafe conditions must be fixed as soon as possible, and the owner must warn the invitee of the possible danger. For example, if an ice machine was malfunctioning in the grocery store, the store owner must put down a “wet floor” sign.
Licensees: Again, a licensee must have the permission of the property owner to be on the property. Unlike an invitee, a licensee is on the property for their own benefit. For example, if you were visiting a friend’s house for a barbecue, you would be a licensee and your friend would be the property owner. Property owners have a high duty of care to licensees, similar to what they have towards invitees. Any unsafe conditions must be fixed, and the licensee must be warned ahead of time to ensure they do not become injured.
Trespassers: A trespasser does not have permission to be on a property and is acting unlawfully when they enter the premises. The duty of care owed to trespassers is severely lowered, however, that does not mean that it is non-existent. A trespasser does not have to be warned about potential dangers on the property, but the property owner may not harm the trespasser willfully, wantonly, or through gross negligence.
As it is the property owner’s duty to protect you, they must provide proper security throughout the premises. Failure to do this can take many forms, including:
- Improper lighting
- Poorly trained or no security guards
- Broken windows or doors
- A lack of emergency exits
- No security cameras
- No alarms
- Distributing keys in an uncontrolled manner
- Loose gate locks
These issues are especially prevalent in dangerous areas. If the neighborhood of the property you are visiting is known to have a high crime rate, then the property owner should take adequate measures in order to combat that level of danger. Property owners should also cat quickly when a potential issue is brought to their attention. For example, if the lightbulb in a parking lot burns out, then the owner should change the lightbulb as soon as they know about the problem. If they do not do this, and someone is hurt as a direct result, then the owner can be considered negligent.
Negligent security is a major concern when in a dangerous area. We expect to be safe when visiting shops, getting out of our car in a parking lot, or even relaxing in our own apartment. But when property owners are negligent, you can end up suffering the consequences. Dangers associated with negligent security include:
After suffering an attack or a robbery, you have likely been left feeling traumatized and hopeless. However, it is important to remember that when it comes to negligent security cases, there is often a liable party that you can file a claim against. When it comes to businesses, the business owner or the person who owns the property the business is located on is likely responsible. In addition, if you are renting an apartment, then your landlord would be responsible for your injuries. Filing a successful negligent security claim, however, is about more than just determining who the liable party is.
When it comes to negligent security claims, there are several factors that must be met in order for the claim to be considered legitimate. It isn’t enough that you get hurt on a property. You must also prove that the property owner is responsible for the injuries you suffered. To do this, you need to show that:
The crime was foreseeable: Foreseeable in negligent security cases means that the property owner should have been aware that a crime could be committed on the premises, such as through local crime rates, reports about whether assaults had been committed in the area recently, and any issues that would make the property unsafe. For example, if your landlord was aware there had been a rash of robberies in the area, but they neglected to fix the broken lock on your window, which resulted in your apartment being broken into, then the landlord reasonably should have seen that crime coming.
The risk of harm was unreasonable: Continuing the above example, if you had complained to your landlord multiple times that the window was broken, and they refused to get it fixed, then the risk of harm was unreasonable, as it could have easily been rectified. In order for the landlord to be liable, they must know about the problem and have adequate time to fix it. If the robbery happened before you reported the broken lock to your landlord, then they cannot be considered responsible, as there was no way for them to know the lock was broken to begin with.
If you have become victimized by negligent security, then you are likely wondering what your options are. Filing a claim can be the perfect way for you to pay for the resulting costs, as well as to hold the negligent property owner responsible. The best way to ensure that your claim is successful is to work with an experienced Dallas premises liability attorney. We at The Lenahan Law Firm can offer you expert advice, investigate your case, and go head to head with the at-fault party’s insurance to make sure you get the compensation you need. If we sound like the right law firm for you, then call us at (214) 295-1008. We are waiting to help.