In criminal court, the people who commit acts like robbery and assault are personally responsible for their misdeeds. But in civil court, the rules are different. Frequently, the landowner is responsible for these incidents.
These injury claims often hinge on the foreseeability rule. According to one dictionary, an event is foreseeable if it could be “known about or guessed before it happened.” Note that actual knowledge is not a requirement. Constructive knowledge (should have known) is sufficient. And, foreseeable does not mean inevitable or even likely. Instead, foreseeable basically means possible.
Evidence of foreseeability in negligent security claims includes prior similar incidents at that location, prior similar incidents in the area, and the nature of the business. Evildoers often target convenience stores. They rarely target photography studios.
If negligent security caused or contributed to the victim’s injury, a Lexington personal injury attorney might be able to obtain substantial compensation in court. Frequently, this compensation includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Owners have a legal duty to install heavy-duty locks on all public access doors. Most residences must have knob locks, which are essentially for privacy, and deadbolt locks, which provide additional security. Most public places, like restaurants and schools, must have doors with panic bars. It’s always possible to get out, but not always possible to get in.
Furthermore, owners have a duty to quickly respond to complaints of broken or missing locks. Owners cannot take shortcuts in these situations. They must replace the hardware with something at least as strong. Furthermore, this hardware must comply with all local building codes.
Inadequate Live Security
Remember the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando in 2016? A gunman killed fifty people that night. At the time, this incident was the worst mass shooting in American history. Inadequate security played a key role in this tragedy.
The shooter had a history of mental problems, including verified violent threats. Additionally, he was openly affiliated with a known terrorist group. Nevertheless, the security company which employed him repeatedly gave him passing grades on psychological profiles and sponsored his license to carry a firearm.
At the nightclub itself, there was apparently only one bouncer on duty. This man did not single out the shooter as a threat when he entered the club, and did nothing once the shooter began his rampage.
Under basic negligence doctrine, either of these entities could have been at least partially responsible for this shooting.
No Visitor Screening
This form of negligent security comes up frequently in hospitals and nursing homes. These businesses usually require visitors to sign in. Yet they usually do not perform any background checks on these individuals. That includes something as simple as comparing the visitor’s name with a list of known troublemakers.
Assume Alice goes to visit Steve, who is accused of killing Terry in a fight, at a local hospital. The hospital employee on duty at the door does not know that Alice was Terry’s husband, although this information was easily available. If Alice hurts Steve, the hospital could be legally responsible for his injuries.
In his weakened state, Steve is more vulnerable to serious injury. But the hospital cannot use Steve’s eggshell skull or glass jaw as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation.
These incidents are rather common at apartment complexes and other buildings where there is lots of moving in and moving out. Movers routinely block open security doors. Such behavior almost always violates the apartment complex’s security guidelines, and the apartment management almost always does nothing to stop such conduct.
Such provisions are clear evidence of foreseeability. The apartment complex knew propped-open doors could lead to tragedy. So, it is easier to establish negligence in these situations.
Of all the forms of negligent security, injuries related to inadequate lighting might be the most common. Dark areas make potential victims feel uncomfortable, and potential evildoers usually sense this fear.
Generally, the landowner has a duty to repair or replace broken or burned-out lights in common areas, like halls and parking lots. Individuals have a duty to repair or replace lights inside individual dwellings.
The standard of care often comes into play in these situations. Sometimes, lights need only be bright enough to provide illumination. Other times, they must be bright enough to be visible from orbit.
Inadequate security often causes serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.