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When you visit another person’s property, whether it is a restaurant, bar, shopping mall, retail store, or home, you expect to be safe while on the premises. However, some property owners fail to maintain adequate security for their premises, and criminals take advantage of the situation. When someone is attacked, questions naturally arise about whether there was a duty to protect visitors and who is liable for injuries caused by the event. In Austin, our office of personal injury attorneys at DC Law assist the victims of negligent security and fight for the compensation they deserve.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security occurs when a property owner does not take reasonable measures to protect visitors from foreseeable dangers stemming from criminal activity and falls under the umbrella of premises liability. The doctrine of premises liability states that a property owner or occupier has a duty of care to prevent, fix, or notify visitors on the premises of dangerous or hazardous conditions.
Inadequate security can take many forms, which includes lack of indoor and outdoor lighting, lack of locks or broken locks, visible holes in fences and walls, lack of warning signs, lack of security guards, and lack of patrols and procedures for handling crimes. Injuries in negligent security cases can take many forms, including robbery, rape, assault, battery, or murder.
Liability in Negligent Security Cases
If the perpetrator of the crime is caught, criminal charges may be brought against them for the harm caused. The victim of these crimes can seek civil damages against the person accused of wrongdoing, but if it happened on someone else’s property because of negligent security the property owner or occupier can also be held liable for the harm suffered as a result.
In order to prove the property owner liable for damages caused by negligent security, a victim must show the following elements in court: first, that the property owner owed a duty of care to the visitor on their premises; second, that the property owner or occupier breached that duty of care through negligent security; third, that as a direct result of inadequate security harm was caused; and finally, that the harm resulted in actual damages for the victim.
Compensation for Negligent Security
Compensation for negligent security cases can take the form of both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include out of pocket costs for the victim, including property damage, current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and the loss of future earnings and benefits. Noneconomic damages refer to the less tangible harms of a negligent security case, which includes payment for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and the loss of enjoyment of life. An experienced premises liability attorney can review the facts of your unique case and advise you on the potential compensation for your claims.