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What is negligent security?
You didn’t expect to become the victim of a crime when you went to visit a friend or stopped off at a bar after work. However, that is exactly what ended up happening. You got mugged in the dark alley that connects the bar to the parking lot or in the unilluminated and apparently unrecorded parking lot of your friend’s apartment building.
You likely suffered physical harm or emotional trauma, along with damage to your property. If you can build a claim for what’s referred to as negligent security, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim against a business or property owner and recover compensation related to the incident.
What constitutes negligent security?
Criminal activity can occur anywhere. You could get mugged or assaulted even in your own home late at night. Crime is unpredictable. However, to a large extent, some criminal activity is predictable, given certain situational factors.
Businesses open to the public along with landlords have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe manner, an obligation which includes paying appropriate attention to the risk of crime.
To establish whether a business owner was negligent, you have to determine whether basic steps on their part would have prevented the crime and also whether a reasonable person would have done more given the circumstances.
Leaving a parking lot unenclosed and dark all night in an area with a high crime rate could constitute negligence. So could operating a club or bar without security professionals on hand, as alcohol frequently leads to altercations and other criminal activity. If a reasonable person would agree that the business did not do enough to keep customers or visitors safe, then you may have grounds for an insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit.
Property owners and businesses protect against premises liability
Most businesses carry liability insurance policies. Their general policy may include premises liability coverage, or they may carry a supplemental premises liability policy. Landlords and property owners have premises liability coverage built into their property insurance.
You can potentially file a claim for any provable economic losses related to a crime that occurred because of negligence security. However, you can expect pushback, especially if the claim is an expensive one.
Getting an attorney who knows the law and your rights can increase the risk of recovering the compensation you need.