In Negligent Security Cases, How is Fault Proven?
Negligent security cases are fought by Personal Injury lawyers every day. None of us are immune to this dangerous mistake property owners make. Thus, we can all pay for this carelessness at any given time. When an employee arrives to do their job, or has reason to be at a residence or business, safety must be priority. Accidental shootings, stabbings, and assaults resulting in permanent injury and fatalities are more likely happen when a business owner or landlord fails to secure their property. Business owners and landlords must put the safety of customers, employees, and tenants above all else! If they don’t, they’re putting themselves at-risk for becoming liable in the event of litigation.
Who holds the burden of proof in negligent security cases?
During trial, a victim and their lawyer hold the “burden of proof”. This means, lawyer and client must prove the business owner was aware of the crime rate surrounding the area in which they maintain their business. Furthermore, a lawyer must prove that crime rate is exponentially higher than other neighboring areas. When the former and the latter are true, the client has a case. However, it’s not that simple. Aside from proving the business owner’s awareness of the facts, a lawyer must be able to prove the business owner made no effort to have proper security measures in place to combat the foreseeable crime rate in the area.
What is “reasonable”?
With negligent security cases, and in turn premises liability, the victim must show very specific details that deem the other party liable for pain and suffering. One of these requirements poses the question of “was the property owner acting reasonably?” The attorney must provide proof on behalf of their client that the business owner was failing to act in a reasonable manner. The opposite of this would be “unreasonable”, another word for “irresponsible”.
“Unreasonable” in this instance would mean the business owner failing to do their due diligence in discovering criminal activity similar to the victim’s injuries. They also must fail to provide sufficient warnings to the victim about the rate of crime in the surrounding area. If the victim isn’t given adequate warning, they can’t properly protect themselves. Methods of protecting themselves may include concealed carry, rolling up car windows, etc. In these instances, the property owner may be responsible for damages that include pain and suffering.
The victim’s responsibility in negligent security cases
The victim is responsible for proving that they were on the owner’s property in a reasonable and legal manner. Were they doing their job? Were they shopping at the owner’s business during store hours? Other factors certainly come into play if a consumer shopping at a business sustains injuries during a robbery. This proof provides what’s necessary to obtain compensation after a negligent security accident. This proof can be found on security cameras. However, negligent security actions certainly apply if there are no cameras on the property.
Class Action lawsuits
When the burden of proof in negligent security cases suffices, the business owner may be liable for damages. In cases of Class Action lawsuits, if more than one patron of a business suffers life threatening injuries on the property, the same principle applies. This means the business owner would be facing even steeper financial loss. When a Class of people all sustain similar injuries, liability on businesses increases exponentially.
What is “foreseeability”? Foreseeability can be defined as:
“[…]Foreseeability is a requirement under tort law that the consequences of a parties action or inaction could reasonably result in the injury. In such cases, the resultant injury was reasonably predictable by a person of ordinary intelligence and circumspection as in the case of throwing a heavy object at someone.”
In most states, the judge can determine this factor based on precedent. This means the judge will most likely look critically into whether similar crimes took place in the area, thus being able to prove the property owner did not act reasonably. If the property owner was aware of the crime rate, yet did nothing to secure those who frequent their property on a regular basis, they become liable for any citizen who becomes injured when visiting their property legally, for any reason.
The victim must prove the following:
- Duty of care was not exercised in discovering the area’s crime rate.
- The victim must prove he or she was on the premises in a legal manner. Were they doing a job there? Were they shopping at a business?
- The property owner knows of security risks but fails to maintain or update their security. This means they’re not providing adequate protection for those who must visit their property for legitimate reasons.
What is Restatement of Torts in Personal Injury law?
Finally, to be able to prove negligent security has occurred, the Restatement of Torts becomes necessary. What is this legal statute and why must it be utilized in Personal Injury law so carefully? According to The American Law Institute the Restatement of The Law Second, Torts is described succinctly as follows:
“[…]This work, widely relied upon and often cited by the courts, offers comprehensive and concise coverage of the law of torts, with scholarly and analytical discussion of particular rules. These volumes constitute a revision of the original Restatement of Torts and supersede the original work.”
So what is the purpose of this specific text, and why do Personal Injury lawyers rely on it for successful negligent security cases? The reason for that, is pretty straightforward: an attorney utilizes this text because it contains causes in relation to physical and emotional harm. Furthermore, it contains specific actions necessary for successful liability claims. Simply put, it’s an accurate summation of the principles of tort law within the United States.
Your lawyer’s experience matters
Lawyers with experience refer to their texts to better advise clients throughout their case. “Paper pusher” lawyers will never reference a book, because it’s all about the number of cases. If a client chooses a Firm that hurries them out the door, it’s time to find another Personal Injury lawyer!