Do You Have a Negligent Security Claim?
When you have been the victim of a criminal assault, you can only hope that justice will be served, and law enforcement will locate and prosecute the perpetrator. In Los Angeles County, the person committing the assault could face severe penalties if tried and convicted, but that will likely not compensate you for the injuries you have sustained.
While you may be able to apply for compensation through the California Victim Compensation Fund, these funds are limited and may not cover all of the losses you have suffered due to the crime. However, if the crime occurred because the property owner failed to secure the premises, you might have the right to bring a negligent security claim against the property owner according to California laws.
How Do Negligent Security Claims Work?
Property owners in California have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable criminal acts by third parties on their property. A property owner who failed to provide adequate security may be liable for injuries a visitor, guest, or resident suffered during a crime committed on the property, provided the crime was foreseeable.
For example, if there has been a history of muggings or assaults near a specific Los Angeles gym, the risk of it occurring again could be considered foreseeable. The gym’s owner may have a legal obligation to provide enhanced security in the parking lot to keep visitors on the property safe, and failure to do so may be considered negligence.
To move forward with a claim, you will first want to talk to a negligent security attorney to discuss your rights under the law and evaluate whether or not the property owner failed to prevent your injuries. With the right evidence and a thorough understanding of the law, your attorney may be able to file for compensation from the property owner’s liability insurance policy.
What Evidence Is Needed to Win a Negligent Security Claim?
To win compensation in a negligent security claim, you must show that the incident was foreseeable, and the property owner was negligent in failing to take reasonable steps to prevent it.
With an attorney at your side, foreseeability may be demonstrated by showing:
- The type of business is automatically considered high risk, such as a bank.
- The property is located in a high crime area based on local neighborhood crime statistics.
- Crime in the area has recently increased.
- A history of criminal activity on the property exists.
- Direct threats have been issued.
In addition, you may also evaluate what other businesses are doing to maximize the safety of their guests. If, for example, local Los Angeles apartment buildings saw a rise in assaults and robberies, they may begin improving their security measures by hiring extra guards, increasing patrols, and implementing strict access to the entrances. If your apartment building failed to respond similarly to these threats of criminal activity and you were injured in an assault, you may have a claim against the property owner based on foreseeability.
In addition to determining if the crime was foreseeable, your attorney and you must demonstrate that the property owner had failed to implement proper security measures. You may do this showing evidence such as:
- A lack of security guards
- Improperly trained or incompetent security personnel
- Inadequate lighting
- A lack of security cameras
- A lack of security alarms
- Inadequate security patrols
- A lack of proper locks on doors and windows
Evidence of negligent security will ultimately vary depending on what type of property the crime was committed on and the local crime rate. A more affluent neighborhood may have a lower crime rate, making it harder to argue that the property owner needed a large team of security guards to defend a small boutique store.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in Negligent Security Cases?
When compared to a catastrophic car accident, one may be ready to dismiss the injuries sustained in a negligent security claim. The types of injuries in a car accident can be extensive and absolutely devastate someone’s life. But assaults due to negligent security can be just as damaging. Victims can suffer a wide range of trauma in a mugging, from gunshot or knife wounds that lead to life-changing internal injuries to unimaginable emotional trauma that comes with a sexual assault.
At the end of the day, securing a conviction through the criminal justice system may not be enough. Even if a suspect is caught and charged, the chances of being awarded punitive damages are low, as most suspects cannot pay those charges. While you may have access to the aforementioned California Victim’s Compensation Fund, it may not come close to covering both the physical and emotional trauma of your injuries, especially if you are left disabled.
That is why your best bet at moving on from this horrible event is a negligent security claim. Property owners are required to protect all guests and tenants, and it is fully possible that you are covered under their liability policy. With a negligent security claim, you could recover:
- Medical expenses
- Property damages
- Loss of wages if you had to take time off work to recover
- Loss of earning potential if your injuries, both mental and physical, made it hard for you to work
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
The crime committed against you likely has left you scared, confused, and feeling hopeless. “How could something like this happen? Why did it have to happen to you? Could anything have been done to prevent it?”
While we cannot answer all of these questions, the Glendale premises liability attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC can evaluate whether or not a property owner could have prevented your injuries in a free consultation. There is no cost to contacting us and discussing your case to determine if you have a negligent security claim. In addition, if we take you on as a client, we will not accept a dime unless we win your case. If you believe a property owner’s actions led to your injuries, call us at (818) 507-4311 to learn what options are available to you under California law.