Omaha Negligent Security Attorney
As a society, we expect property owners - from hotel owners to bar proprietors - to provide adequate security to keep us and our property safe from other people when we are on their premises. However, when a business fails to provide appropriate security for its particular location and circumstances, we might end up paying the price.
Premises Liability Services
"Negligent security" may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about personal injury claims, but it is an important issue. We trust others to look out for our own well-being, just as we do our best to look out for others.
Negligent security is a very specific form of negligence in which the security provided, or not provided, by a property owner or manager is partially or wholly responsible for an injury or property damage/loss.
Since negligent security covers acts of violence - robbery, rape, and assault, to name a few - we have to talk about why you would file a claim against a property owner instead of, say, a robber. Unfortunately, robbers and other criminals don’t have the financial ability to compensate you for the harm you have suffered. Properties, by contrast, are usually covered by insurance. Also, the owner of the property does have a legal duty to protect customers, patrons, and guests from foreseeable harm.
Certain preventative measures are plain common sense. For example, we know we live in a world where theft occurs; therefore, it is reasonable to expect a property owner to have locks to protect guests and their personal property. In big hotels with lots of foot traffic, many people come and go, some with bad intentions, so having security cameras and well-lit entrances and exits is a must. Foreseeability is a major part of negligent security, which means a property owner or manager must take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable, or reasonably predictable, crime.
Negligent security can vary greatly from one situation to another, but common examples include:
- Lack of locks: Locks are a simple form of security that can be very beneficial in preventing crimes. Renters in an apartment, students at a dormitory, and businesses in a shopping mall can all expect the property owner to provide sufficient locks to keep out most intruders. It is also important for the property owners to control who has keys to these locks, and restrict duplication as much as reasonably possible.
- Lack of cameras: While cameras are not appropriate in all areas, they are expected in certain public places and businesses. Convenience stores and banks, for example, are expected to have cameras to deter crime as much as possible. A lack of cameras in certain areas makes those locations more likely to have violence or theft.
- Poor lighting: A lack of lighting can greatly increase the chances of criminal activity. Poor visibility makes an area particularly attractive to muggers or people intent on committing violent crimes. Proper lighting can dissuade someone from committing a crime, and it also helps prevent slips, trips, and falls that can cause serious injury to a person.
- Lack of personnel: Some locations and businesses should have security guards on duty to protect customers, residents, and others. Shopping malls often have security personnel who are expected to keep shoppers and employees safe, especially in large parking lots. If the personnel is not present, or is improperly trained, the property owner may be liable for foreseeable crimes that occur.
When an owner is negligent in providing security, the harms and losses suffered by victims can be substantial, depending on the type of violence or theft they have suffered. These harms and losses include:
- Lost or damaged property
- Medical bills, including therapy bills
- Lost wages due to missed work
- Lost future wages due to physical or emotional impairments
- Emotional and psychological stress and suffering
- Changes in lifestyle and relationships
It’s easy to feel helpless after you've been hurt or had your property damaged due to negligent security. But you can take action. When a property owner or manager could have done more to keep you safe but didn’t, they may be held legally responsible.
If you or someone you know has been injured because of a crime in Nebraska, call an Omaha premises liability lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234. Our legal team will sit down with you in a free consultation to discuss what happened, and what options are available to you. We can help.
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