Under the legal principle of premises liability, the owner or manager of commercial or residential property may be liable for injuries caused to a legal visitor on the property, under certain conditions. There’s a duty to maintain the property in order to minimize the risk of injury, but there can also be a duty to maintain a certain level of security or to ensure that any security measures that have been implemented are properly functioning or maintained.
First, it’s important to understand that a personal injury action alleging negligent security assumes that, had proper security measures been in place, the injury would not have occurred. Accordingly, if a visitor can reasonably provide for his or her own security, or if there’s no reasonable expectation of risk of injury due to negligent security, an injured person may have difficulty recovering damages.
An injured person can make a claim for negligent security based on a number of different events:
- A building owner, manager, landlord or tenant knows or should have known about the existence of violent crimes, such as muggings, assaults, robbery or rape, at or in proximity to the property, but failed to take any action
- The building has security measures in place, but they were either not functioning or not implemented at the time of the injury
- The activity conducted on the property was one that would reasonably attract muggers or violent criminals. In some jurisdictions, though, a business owner may meet the standard of care by taking certain commonly accepted precautions, such as installing a security camera or posting notice that cash registers do not contain more than a certain amount of money.
The injured person must show that he or she was legally on the property, and not a trespasser.
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