Security Negligence and Sexual Assault

When a building owner does not provide for proper security, they can be held liable liable for any criminal assault that takes place on their property. If a sexual assault was made possible by the lack of adequate security, the assault victim can make a case that proper security could have reasonably prevented the assault. Retailers, malls, building owners, apartment managers, office security, parking garage owners, club owners and others have a responsibility to maintain a secure space for their patrons, customers or residents. In many instances, muggings, sexual assault incidents and violent crimes could have been reasonably prevented had there been adequate security in place at the time. 

There are a number of options a responsible building owner can employ to ensure the safety of their patrons. These precautions include hiring security and installing cameras or locks. Providing these security measures is a legal requirement and failure to adhere to it can result in legal penalties, including damages paid out to the victims of an assault that occured on the premises, as a result of a faulty or inadequate security measures.

Victims of sexual assault may suffer injuries of a wide variety, including physical, psychological and emotional, to start. Trauma can outlast the physical injuries of an assault, although the physical injuries can likewise substantial. If you or a loved one survived a sexual assault and have reason to believe that negligent security measures may have played a role in your attack, you are advised to speak to a qualified sexual assault attorney immediately. There is no reason why a person who endured sexual assault as the result of someone else's negligence or recklessness should not see that person held liable, and be compensated for the injuries they suffered.

Negligent security is in the family of premises liability law. A suit can brought against a commercial or residential property owner if there is a legal duty to provide reasonable security measures to protect lawful visitors from foreseeable crimes. If an individual was on the premises unlawfully, this may be a defense to a negligent security claim for the property owner. There is an assumption that if proper security had been provided for, the assault could have been prevented.

Who is Responsible? The Property Owner or the Assaulter?

Although the person who committed the assault is directly responsible for the injuries inflicted on the victim, it may not be possible to locate him or her if they fled the scene or cannot be identified. By contrast, the victim will easily be able to locate the owner or the property on which the assault occurred. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a lack of proper security measures may have contributed or caused an opportunistic attack. In this case, the property owner must be held liable. The property owner may also have insurance to cover any damages awarded to the victim.

Types of Security Negligence

It is possible for a building owner/manager/retailer/office to be negligent in the following areas:

  • negligent hiring;
  • inadequate fencing;
  • inadequate locks; and/or
  • inadequate locks.

What is adequate security?

The definition of adequate security is subjective, meaning it will vary case to case. Adequate security measures for a college dormitory will differ from the adequate security measures of parking structure. An attorney or consultant may be hired by a property manager where an assault has occurred to determine whether increased or altered security measures would have reasonably prevented the assault. In some cases of third party criminal attacks, there are liability exemptions if the property owner took certain enumerated precautions. This is not true of all states.

What does a victim have to prove in a negligent security case?

After an assault, the prospect of taking on a lawsuit to hold the responsible parties liable can be daunting - especially while trying to focus on recovery and trying to move on from the incident. This is why it is critical to hire an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law to handle to claim on your behalf. There are many elements a victim must prove in order to prevail in a negligent security case. Their attorney can shoulder this burden and do the necessary research so the victim is free to focus on their recovery after the assault.

It is critical that the plaintiff's attorney prove that the assault was foreseeable given the lack of security measures. In many cases, foreseeability is only established if there had been other similar assaults in the area under similar circumstances, with a comparable lack of security. If the defendant property owner can prove that the assault was in no way foreseeable under the circumstances, it may be more difficult to win the case. If law enforcement has frequently been called to the area for other types of incidents and no changes were made in the security measures, this may be a credit to the plaintiff's case.

The plaintiff will have to show that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care and their negligence contributed to the assault, even if a third party independently perpetrated the crime. Furthermore, the plaintiff would not have been injured if the property owner had exercised due diligence in their duty to provide reasonable security measures.

When to Hire An Attorney in Negligent Security Case

If you were a lawful visitor or resident on someone else's property and were the victim of a sexual assault, there is a chance that inadequate security measures paved the way for your attack. You do not have to be absolutely certain that negligent security played a role. A consultation with an experienced attorney can help clarify any questions you have about whether or not you can file suit for negligent security in a sexual assault case. Contact attorneys Gilman and Bedigian online for a free consultation of your sexual assault case or call 800-529-6162 immediately.

Let Us Help

If someone you are close to has been seriously injured or worse, you are naturally devastated not only by what has happened, but by the effect that the injury or loss has had on you and your family. At a time when you're vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead.

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