Typically, when an individual thinks about premises liability, they often think about slip and fall accidents or swimming pool accidents. One of the biggest areas of premises liability is negligent security. Negligent security claims are often horrific and carry heavy emotional trauma for the victim, as they often involve violent crimes such as sexual assaults and robberies.
In general, most individuals don’t spare a second thought when they are going to the grocery store or mall about whether or not they will be safe. We expect our schools, banks, amusement parks, hotels, and other public spaces to have adequate security to protect us from harm. When that security falls short, the resulting crime and injuries often leave the victim scrambling to find not only a sense of peace but how to cope financially.
The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. proudly supports our community by ensuring that all of our clients get the compensation they deserve for negligent security cases. The crime committed against you is not your fault. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to pay the price for proper security measures not being in place. One of the questions our team gets a lot is how does one prove that there was inadequate security? Here is what you need to know about how to prove an establishment had negligent security:
Understanding What Negligent Security
Negligent security is a legal term that describes a property owner who has a duty to ensure the safety of a tenant or visitor but has failed to do so. Proper security often includes the following measures:
- Property monitoring systems such as video surveillance
- Providing adequate lighting for highly trafficked areas such as parking lots, stairwells, and hallways
- Performing criminal background checks on security personnel
- Installing fencing around the perimeter of the property
- Inspecting and maintaining security equipment
- Repairing broken locks, windows, and gates
- Notifying tenants and patrons of nearby criminal activity to ensure that they take action to keep themselves safe
When a property owner doesn’t take the proper precautions to protect their patrons or tenants, it significantly increases the risk of an accident.
How Do I Prove That The Property Owner Was Negligent
Proving that your incident was partially caused by inadequate security is an important part of ensuring that you get the compensation you deserve. A negligent security attorney can help you prove the following:
Proving That There Was a Duty of Care
Businesses and other institutions such as government agencies or educational facilities have a duty to keep their customers, visitors, tenants, and other occupants safe. Part of this duty is providing security to keep these individuals safe from foreseeable dangers.
Proving That The Property Owner Breached That Duty
The company or property owner failed to ensure that the property had adequate security to keep individuals safe. For example, a gated apartment complex knows that the electronic gates to allow residents in are broken but has failed to fix the gates. Instead, they have left them open which allows any individual into the premises.
Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Insight: Property Owners Responsibilities
The state of Texas clearly outlines the specific duties that all landlords must perform to keep their tenants and the property safe. These responsibilities, as outlined in Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code, are as follows:
- Make a reasonable effort to repair any condition that may affect the safety of the tenant
- Ensure every window has a latch
- Ensure that every exterior sliding door has a latch or a security bar
- Ensure that every exterior door has a keypad/key lock, a non-keyed deadbolt, and a door viewer;
- Rekey any door within 7 days of the tenant leaving
- Rekey a door any time at the request of a tenant
- Repair a door any time at the request of a tenant
- Repair a security device if it is broken (this does not include when damaged by the tenant)
- Install a smoke detector in every room of the house or apartment and ensure that they are operating properly
- Ensure the presence of a fire extinguisher and repair/replace it when necessary
Proving The Breach of Duty Led to Your Incident
The property owner’s failure to provide adequate security resulted in you being attacked/assaulted on the property which led to damages and emotional trauma. Taking from the example earlier, because the electric gates were never fixed, a known sexual predator who lived in the area was able to get in and attacked you as you were going to your car.
Proving That You Suffered Damages As a Result
The result of the assault or attack left you with physical, economic, non-economic, and emotional damages. It is important to ensure that you have proper evidence to support that these damages occurred, this can include photos, medical reports/statements, and bills from psychological therapy.
Hernandez Insight: Common Examples of Negligent Security Claims
As mentioned before, negligent security cases involve an individual being attacked or assaulted on a property due to the property failing to have proper security measures in place. Common examples of negligent security claims include the following:
- ATM robbery
- Store parking lot mugging or assault
- Hotel room assault
- Gas station robbery
- College campus sexual assault
How Do I Prove That It Was a Foreseeable Injury?
One of the most common defenses against a negligent security claim is that the property owner could not have foreseen that an assault or an attack would have happened. This defense is an attempt to relieve the defendant of the liability of your attack and the damages it accrued.
For example, if the gated community you lived in was in an area that has no major history of crimes, the property owner may claim that they had no real reason to provide extra security while the gate was being fixed. They couldn’t have known that an individual would have taken the broken gate as an invitation to come in. Having an experienced premises liability attorney on your side can help show that the attack never would have occurred had the gate been fixed in a timely manner and that they should have known that the sex offender had moved into the area.
Foreseeable injury can be proven by showing the following factors:
- There Is Evidence of Impending Harm: The property owner should have been aware that an attack on a resident or patron was possible due to previous occurrences of crime in the area.
- There Was a Prior Attack: There was a previous attack on the property and the property owner failed to improve security afterward.
Get the Compensation You Deserve From Your Incident
Negligent security claims can be difficult to navigate in a court of law but that shouldn’t discourage you from seeking out the compensation you deserve. The team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. will be by your side every step of the way to help gather the evidence to prove that the property owner breached their duty of care. While you focus on recovering from your accident, our team will fight hard to get the compensation you deserve, allowing you to better traverse the road to recovery. Contact our team today for more information on our premises liability services or to schedule a free no-obligation consultation with our legal team!