Personal injury lawsuits by victims of crime
A victim may suffer serious injuries after an attack — in some cases, permanent disability, physical pain, emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder. Police and prosecutors work hard to solve crimes and convict the assailants. However, these law enforcement officers do not provide financial compensation to the victims of violent crimes. Many victims do not realize that they can file a civil lawsuit to collect damages based on a negligent security claim.
Duty of landlords and business owners
Under the premises liability doctrine, landlords and business owners have a duty to maintain their property in safe condition. Traditionally, the concept applied to trip, slip and fall hazards, but legally extends to any situation that foreseeably puts people at risk of injury. This includes keeping the property secure and repairing problems that could expose individuals to assault.
Expectation of adequate security
The level and nature of security a property owner is expected to provide depends on the purpose of the premises. For example, residential tenants would expect the landlord to trim hedges lining walkways and change burnt-out bulbs in hallway light fixtures. Whereas, a customer visiting a shopping mall, sports arena, movie theater, bank or business office would expect additional measures — such as numerous security guards and surveillance cameras positioned throughout the property.
To prevail in a civil trial, the victim would need to prove that the property owner’s lax security measures contributed to the assault. A victim might prove negligence by showing that these unsafe conditions existed on the property at the time of the attack:
- Overgrown bushes that created hiding places for assailant
- Broken locks on windows or doors
- Dim lighting in hallways and parking lots
- Prolific criminal activity
- Workers with a history of violent crimes
- Disabled burglar alarms
- Insufficient surveillance and security personnel