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Assessing Foreseeability in Negligent and Inadequate Security Claims

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Personal Injury

Negligence actions can be more easily understood by considering four key elements: Duty, breach, causation, and damages. In establishing whether the breach of a duty caused damages in a negligent or inadequate security action, the basis of a claimant’s argument will generally rely heavily on determining whether the premises owner, knew, or should have known that injury may result in the absence of taking sufficient measures to protect persons that might be reasonably expected to be harmed. This concept is generally referred to as foreseeability.

Properly assessing a claim, in terms of foreseeability, requires a comprehensive analysis of all the facts surrounding a particular accident. This may involve examining prior instances of criminal activity on or near the premises, or evaluating safety measures taken by similarly situated businesses, whether based upon the type, or location, of a business, entity, or property. Although every accident is unique, there are several circumstances in which an owner can be held liable for damages extending from their negligent action or inaction. Common examples of negligent or inadequate security measures include:

  • Lack / insufficient amount of security guards
  • Improperly trained employees or security personnel
  • Failure to screen patrons for weapons
  • Insufficient or improperly maintained lighting
  • Failure to install, monitor or maintain security cameras
  • Lack of walkways / safe manners of ingress and regress to establishment
  • Failure to maintain areas surrounding the premises which may affect visibility
  • Other conditions that pose a safety risk or hazard
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Injury or death resulting from negligent and inadequate security can occur almost anywhere. To provide a list of all the potential locations where a property owner can, or has been, held liable for breaching a duty owed to another, would be far too lengthy, if not nearly impossible. However, there are several places where negligent security is commonly cited as a cause of an incident, including:

  • College Campuses
  • Parking Lots
  • Stairwells & Elevators
  • Shopping Malls or Plazas
  • Gas Stations
  • Banks, particularly ATMs
  • Schools
  • Daycare Facilities
  • Amusement Parks
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Night Clubs & Strip Clubs
  • Office Buildings
  • Hotels
  • Sports Stadiums

Of course, not every incident in which a person is injured or killed by a third party’s intervening actions while on the property of another can result in liability. Unfortunately, sometimes there simply was no foreseeable risk which would require a property owner to protect others from injury. Consequently, because assessing foreseeability can be highly complex, it is important that you discuss the incident with an attorney experienced in negligent and inadequate security claims, prior to discarding a potential claim as a purely accidental. Property owners are held liable more often than many realize. As such, by knowing your legal rights you can ensure that adequate measures are taken to protect any entitlement to compensation.