A person lying on the ground with the words, "examples of negligent security."

Negligent security, also known as inadequate security, is a legal term that describes a property owner’s failure to fulfill their duty of ensuring a tenant’s or visitor’s safety. Unlike other personal injury cases where the victim is injured due directly to the negligent party’s actions, such as in a car accident where the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol, negligent security cases always include another party. They often involve violent crimes such as sexual assaults, robberies, stabbings, and shootings. Unfortunately, many of these cases result in the victim’s wrongful death, which leaves the surviving family members struggling to cope.

Negligent security cases can happen in a vast number of locations, including:

  • Parking lots
  • Malls and shopping centers
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Apartment complexes
  • Colleges and universities
  • Amusement parks
  • Schools
  • Hotels and motels
  • Resorts
  • Airports
  • Bus stations
  • Train stations
  • Banks

If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed due to a property owner’s inability to provide adequate safety, you need the legal guidance of a negligent security attorney. The lawyers at the Hernandez Law Group support and advocate for the victims of these crimes. We work around the clock to gather the proper evidence to prove that the landlord failed to provide appropriate security to protect the victim, and we fight for fair compensation for our clients so they can cover medical expenses and damages related to their injuries.

Our personal injury attorneys are often asked about the true nature of negligent security cases. In this article, our legal experts will be taking a closer look at real-life examples of negligent security cases in Texas to give our clients a better understanding of what to expect. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We have a representative available 24/7 to ensure that your case and questions are heard and handled, no matter the time of day.

Case Study in Inadequate Security

A legal statue with the Texas flag.

On August 3rd, 2019, El Paso, Texas, was on the mind of every individual in the United States after reports of a gunman opening fire inside a Walmart. Twenty-three people were killed in the shooting, and 24 more were seriously injured after a 21-year-old drove 10 hours from Dallas, Texas, to the Walmart and opened fire with a semi-automatic WASR-10 rifle. 

The gunman, Patrick Crusius, was charged with hate crimes and capital murder by the United States Justice Department. While the death penalty was not sought, he was convicted of both crimes and sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences.

Survivors of the shooting and the families of the deceased have brought lawsuits against Walmart for not providing adequate security that they claim could have significantly lowered the death and injury count of the attack.

For these families to be successful, they have an uphill battle to prove that Walmart did not provide adequate security for its patrons inside the store. It is their burden of proof to show that Walmart failed to take proper security measures such as:

  • Video surveillance cameras to monitor the store during the crime
  • Adequate lighting in the parking lots and in the store
  • Trained security guards or staff on the premises who knew how to handle these kinds of events
  • Background checks for all security personnel
  • Proper fencing or security gates on the property
  • Functional security equipment
  • Operational locks on the doors
  • Notifying individuals in the store of criminal activity and alerting them to get to a safe area

While not all of these measures need to be in place, at least some have to be present to aid in decreasing the risk of individuals getting assaulted, injured, or killed.

What Grounds Are the Families Suing Walmart On?

The families filing the lawsuit against Walmart claim that Walmart had a legal responsibility to protect its customers but failed to do so because there were no security guards on staff to patrol the store. This particular El Paso Walmart had no armed guards on staff, while others around the same county did. The crime rate in El Paso, they argue, warrants having trained security guards on sight for the continued protection of Walmart’s customers.

With a population of 686,793 people in 2019, El Paso had 2,422 reported violent crimes. The question now remains if that particular Walmart provided enough security or had property safety protocols in place to handle, to the extent that it is reasonably possible, that kind of situation. The lawsuits are still currently active in court. Once there has been a verdict, the Hernandez Law Group will update this blog with their findings.

Hotel Safety Lapses: Protecting Guests’ Rights

A shot of the skyscrapers in Irving, Texas

Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code outlines specific duties for landlords of private properties, such as hotels, motels, and apartment complexes, to ensure the safety of their tenants. These duties ensure that residents of rented properties are protected from undue risk, whether from burglary or intruders. These rights are as follows:

  • Reasonable effort must be made to repair any condition that may affect the safety of a room or apartment
  • Ensure that every window has a proper latch to keep the window closed and secured
  • All exterior sliding doors, including ones on balconies, must have a safety latch and security bar
  • All exterior doors must have a secure keypad or keyed lock, non-keyed deadbolt, door viewer, or room key reader.
  • All doors must be rekeyed or re-carded within seven days of the tenant leaving.
  • Repair of a security device must be done promptly. The only time this doesn’t apply is when the device was broken due to the negligent or purposeful actions of the renter. In this case, the device may be needed as evidence.
  • A smoke detector must be present in every hotel, apartment, or room in a house.
  • There is a fire extinguisher available to renters at all times, and it must be replaced or repaired when needed.

Of course, other safety measures can also be used, such as surveillance cameras in the parking lot, common areas in hotels and motels, and hallways. If a landowner does not provide reasonable security measures or repairs, they may be responsible for damages from a crime that happens on their property.

What Are the Most Recent Examples of Hotel Crime in Texas?

Unsecured Parking Lots: The Consequences of Neglect

Un accidente trasero en un estacionamiento.

As with buildings, landowners must ensure that their parking lots have proper security to protect individuals. These security measures include providing parking lots with adequate lighting, emergency buttons, and surveillance cameras. These security measures make it harder for individuals to do harm by putting them out in the open and tracking their every move. It also alerts individuals to potential hazards, as bright lights in the parking lot allow them to see someone trying to sneak up on them. It may also alert individuals leaving the store to other patrons acting oddly or erratically.

Why Choose the Hernandez Law Group for Negligent Security Cases in Dallas, Amarillo, and Abilene?

The Hernadez Law Group, P.C. is dedicated to helping individuals in Dallas, Amarillo, and Abilene seek compensation for an incident that took place due to a landowner’s or business’s negligent security. We work hard to prove that the liable party should have had more reasonable security measures or that they should have been able to foresee a potential issue. 

Whether you were in a hotel, store, apartment building, or a rental home, we will help you recover compensation after suffering from a preventable crime. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our caring attorneys.

Negligent Security FAQs

What Constitutes Negligent Security in Texas?

Negligent security is when a property owner has a duty of care to ensure that a tenant or visitor is safe but fails to do so. This often means they failed to provide proper security measures, such as surveillance cameras, adequate lighting, training for security personnel, background checks, and warning tenants or patrons of local criminal activity.

How Can I Prove Negligence in a Negligent Security Case?

A few elements need to be established for negligence to be shown in a negligent security case. The first element is whether or not the property owner owed the victim a duty of care. For example, an individual is injured due to a robbery on the premises of an apartment complex. However, the individual turned out to be a trespasser who was not visiting another tenant on the property and was sneaking in to do a drug deal, which went wrong. Because the individual was a trespasser, the property owner does not owe them the same duty of care as a resident. Therefore, the property owner would not be held responsible for the incident.

However, if the property owner does owe the victim a duty of care to ensure their safety by providing reasonable measures, then the following needs to be proven:

1. Foreseeability: A person under ordinary circumstances could have reasonably foreseen and defended against a criminal act.
2. Imminent Harm: The property owner knew or should have known that a particular crime would occur. For example, if a bomb threat was sent to an airport.
3. Prior Incidents: If an area has seen a high incidence of crime, such as burglaries, then extra measures may need to be taken to protect against future incidents of similar crimes.
4. There Was a Lack of Reasonable Security Measures: Property owners must provide sufficient security that decreases the risk of an individual becoming a victim of a violent crime while on the property. These security measures are as follows:
* Hiring a qualified security service
* Installing security cameras
* Actively monitoring security cameras
* Creating and distributing to patrons a security plan
* Having working locks on doors, windows, and gates
* Installing an intercom or text and email system to warn individuals of potential dangers
* Developing building access control measures, such as gate or door codes
* Having one-use hotel room key cards
* Installing ATM panic buttons
* Placing emergency buttons or centers in parking lots

What Types of Compensation Can I Seek in a Negligent Security Case?

Compensation that can be received from a negligent security case is as follows:

1. Medical expenses: past, present, and future
2. Lost wages
3. Loss of earning capacity
4. Mental anguish
5. Pain and suffering
6. Wrongful death damages

Why Should I Choose Hernandez Law Group for My Negligent Security Case?

The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. is DFW’s, Amarillo, and Abilene’s, Texas’s go-to resource for legal guidance and advocacy in personal injury law. Our lawyers have successfully helped thousands of individuals across the State of Texas. We are led by Juan Hernandez, one of the 2% of Texas attorneys who is Texas board-certified in personal injury law.

We won’t stop fighting until you receive compensation for your medical expenses and damages. Contact our team today for more information.

Additional Resources: