Denver Negligent Security Lawyers
When you go shopping at a store or sign a lease to rent an apartment, you assume that the owner has taken appropriate efforts to make sure you’re kept safe. But that’s not always the case.
Property owners have certain responsibilities to the people who lawfully come onto their premises or rent property from them. Among those legal responsibilities is providing security to protect people from crime. A landlord who rents a house to a tenant needs to provide new locks on doors and windows, at the very least. Similarly, a business is expected to provide adequate lighting and security features for customers and employees.
Property owners who fail to do so put others at risk of violent crimes. If you or a loved one was injured in a crime possibly caused by negligent security, please call Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., at (877) 433-3906 for a no-cost consultation to talk about your legal options.
Improper security takes on many forms. Some may not be so obvious if you don’t know what to look for but understanding what constitutes negligent security is a key step in recovering compensation. Some common forms of negligent security include:
- Lack of proper lighting
- Open doors, gates, and windows
- Broken locks
- No, or improperly trained, security guards
- No security cameras or alarms
- Inadequate emergency exits
Property owners and managers have a responsibility to keep their visitors and patrons safe. We all expect to be safe when shopping at a mall or relaxing in our own apartment. If a property owner ignores this responsibility and you get hurt, then he or she should be held accountable for his or her negligence.
Following a terrifying attack, you may assume the only person responsible is the criminal who injured you. That, however, may not be correct. In many cases, had the proper security been available, an attack would have never happened. So, the question then becomes, who else is responsible for your security and injuries?
- Property owners: The owner of a property is usually responsible for physical forms of security on that land and any buildings located there. For example, a hotel should provide locks on room windows and doors, and restrict access to customers’ rooms. They should also conduct thorough background checks on all employees. In addition, stairs and other remote areas need to have proper lighting and security cameras.
- Renters: Renters share a portion of the responsibility for guests’ safety. For example, if a renter notices that locks do not work properly, he needs to let the property owner know about it so they can be repaired or replaced. Additional locks or more elaborate features like cameras or motion-sensor lights might also be the responsibility of a renter rather than property owner.
- Businesses: Businesses need to be mindful of security for employees and customers alike. This may include installing cameras and security features beyond door and window locks. Security guards might also need to be provided by the business owner, even if they are leasing the property.
- Event organizers: Concerts, music festivals, and other hosted events have something in common: it is the event organizer’s job to have security in place to deal with threats to the people attending the event—including from the other people attending the event. Sometimes that responsibility falls on the venue at which the event is held, but regardless, it is not the attendees’ job to provide adequate security for themselves.
Negligent security cases come down to whether a person or business was able to foresee the possibility of a security threat yet did not take appropriate action to protect others. For example, parking lots are known to be dangerous at night, so a shopping center should provide well-lit parking spaces with a security force to patrol the area, protecting shoppers from the threat of attacks.
Crimes cannot always be predicted, so property owners may not be held liable for everything that happens to people on their property. However, for example, say there have been four violent robberies inside a store in the last year. That’s a noticeable pattern, and the store owner should take steps to try to prevent or deter future robberies and protect his or her customers. This might involve adding additional lights, installing cameras, working with local law enforcement, and even hiring security guards.
In order to file a successful negligent security claim, it isn’t just enough to submit some paperwork. There are certain requirements you have to fit into and be able to prove in order for your claim to be considered legitimate. Thankfully, these requirements are fairly straightforward.
You were on the property lawfully: This means that if you were trespassing, then your claim may not be considered. Patrons of a business are considered lawful visitors, as well as people invited onto a property by its owner. This, of course, also applies if you rent the property, such as in an apartment building.
You were injured on the property: An important part of this stipulation is that you were injured by a third party. If the property owner was the one who assaulted you, then it would be a criminal case, not a premises liability claim.
The property owner should have known about the risk: There are some risks that an owner or manager may not notice right away. A burned-out lightbulb in a parking lot, for example, could be easily overlooked for a day or two. But if the issue is obvious or has been reported several times, such as with a broken front door, then the owner must act quickly in order to fix the problem.
The property owner did not fix the issue that caused the injury: If a lightbulb burned out in the parking lot and you reported it to the property owner, then the owner must replace the lightbulb in order to protect you and other visitors. If a week after you reported the issue, the lightbulb was not fixed, and you were injured because you were unable to see and defend yourself from an attack, then the property owner would be partially responsible for your injuries.
Your injuries would not have happened if the issue had been fixed: Continuing with our above example, if your attacker was able to hurt you specifically because you could not see them beforehand, then that would qualify as a case of negligent security.
Even if all of these factors are true in your case, proving them can be difficult if you are working alone. The insurance companies that provide liability insurance to property owners often have strong legal teams to back them up, especially if you were injured while visiting a large business. Hiring an experienced premises liability attorney may be exactly what you need to win your claim.
It may seem strange to hold a property owner responsible for someone else's criminal actions, but as a society, we all have a duty to protect each other. Businesses or venues tend to have a larger portion of the responsibility under premises liability law. Plus, these incidents are often covered under the business’s insurance policy, which a crime victim may be able to file against.
If you were seriously harmed during the commission of a crime on another person’s property, please call Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. These cases are complicated, but there may be compensation available to pay for your injuries, emotional trauma, property damage, and more. For a free consultation with a Denver negligent security attorney, call (877) 433-3906. We’ll make sure you’re taken care of and work with you to get the justice you deserve.