When an individual visits a mall, store, restaurant, hotel, bar, or any other type of establishment, they typically believe that they will be safe and harm-free the entire time. However, if the owner has not taken proper measures to protect the people who visit their property and someone ends up injured or hurt, the victim can file a negligent security claim to hold the owner accountable for their negligence.
Negligent security is a type of premises liability claim which alleges that a property owner or operator did not take appropriate steps to prevent a person from being hurt. Unlike, say, a slip and fall on ice, where the owner didn’t provide a safe walkway, negligent security claims are civil claims typically filed in conjunction with criminal cases.
For example, say a hotel is located in an area where multiple crimes have been committed. The hotel owner should reasonably foresee that his or her guests may be victims of those crimes without some kind of security measures in place. If that owner fails to implement those measures, then he or she can be held liable in civil court through a negligent security claim.
What types of security measures do property owners usually use?
While property owners have a responsibility to implement proper security measures, the types that they may need will depend on these three factors:
- The type of property or business they are running
- The location of their property or business
- The types of crime or violence reported near their property or at other similar locations
Even if there are no reports of any type of violent or criminal acts in the area, the property owner must be on the safe side and still use reasonable security measures. Some of the security measures they may use include:
- Security cameras
- Security guards
- Metal detectors
- Door locks
- Additional lighting
- Gates or fences
The property owner will know what type of security measures are best for their business. For example, if they are running an expensive jewelry store, they may need on-site security guards. However, if they are running a small deli, security cameras and additional lighting may be sufficient.
Common locations where negligent security can occur in Vancouver, WA
Many people think that you only need to implement security measures if your business or property is in a high crime or dangerous neighborhood. However, the truth is that security measures should be taken no matter what type of neighborhood you are in as criminal acts can happen even in the safest areas and communities.
Here are some of the common locations where negligent security can occur:
- Schools and colleges
- Company offices
- Apartment buildings
- Hospitals and doctor offices
- Banks and ATMs
- Malls and stores
- Parking garages and lots
Examples of negligent security that can lead to a civil lawsuit
While our attorneys at Philbrook Law Office, PS, know that property owners cannot always stop or prevent third-party crimes from happening on their property, they do have a responsibility to at least try to protect their guests from serious and deadly injuries by implementing adequate security measures. When they fail to do this, they become liable for damages.
Some examples of when a property owner may be civilly liable include:
- Failure to maintain security equipment: When a property owner takes the steps to install security cameras, locks, fences, or alarms, they must also routinely test them out to make sure that they are working properly.
- Inadequate security measures: Sometimes, property owners will implement security measures, but it will not be enough. For example, a business may have lighting inside but no lighting in the parking lot. This makes it easier for criminals to harm guests as they are leaving or entering the property.
- Ignoring other nearby or closely related business criminal reports: When there are reports of break-ins or attacks close to the property owner’s business or at other similar businesses, this should be a warning to the owner to take action. However, if the owner decides to ignore these reports and not take appropriate precautions, they are putting their guests and visitors at risk of danger.
- Improperly trained security guards or staff: When security guards or other staff members who are supposed to keep visitors safe lack training, they most likely will not be able to do their job correctly when a dangerous situation arises.
- Failing to conduct background checks on employees: Negligent hiring is one of the most common factors in these types of claims. Employers who don’t conduct background checks can be held liable if their employees cause harm.
How can your Vancouver, WA injury attorneys help?
The attorneys at Philbrook Law Office handle all types of negligent security cases in Vancouver, Washington. Negligent security claims can be tricky because of the “foreseeability” issue. Under the law, property owners must take reasonable steps to protect their patrons and visitors, but “reasonable” is a nebulous word – and insurance companies will jump on that to protect their own clients. You’ll want an attorney who understands the nuances of the law, and who can gather documentation and proof that your injuries were the result of negligence or inadequate security measures.
But our attorneys offer something else – a background in criminal defense. See, most civil cases like these proceed only after the criminal case has been decided. (That’s not always what happens, but it’s more likely than not.) And because we can almost always anticipate how the criminal case will proceed, we can use that knowledge to your advantage in the civil claim. We know what the defense lawyers will say to protect their clients, and we know how the insurance companies will use that information in their own cases, especially if your attacker is found not guilty. The good news is that a “not guilty” verdict doesn’t mean you can’t be compensated civilly – just look at OJ Simpson.
We know that you are going through a tough time and need help getting back on your feet. Our negligent security lawyers in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA will stand up for your right to the compensation you deserve. If you were hurt or injured while visiting a property or business, some of the things that you may be able to recover damages for include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Disfigurement and disability
The team at Philbrook Law Office, PS knows what is at stake when you suffer an injury on someone else’s property. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are located in Battle Ground and Vancouver, WA.