A fundamental principle in premises liability cases is that a property owner owes a duty to customers and guests to keep the property in a safe condition to prevent injuries. For example, business owners must promptly clean up spills to prevent someone from slipping and falling. This area of the law holds the property owner responsible for damages caused by their negligence.
However, other situations exist when a victim could hold a property owner liable for the negligent acts of third parties, including criminals. If you suffered injuries at a property that the owner had negligently secured, the Detroit negligent security lawyers from Ben Crump Law, PLLC, may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries. Our team can review your claim and determine if you have a case against the property owner for negligent security. Contact us today at (800) 896-1221 for a free assessment.
Responsibilities of Michigan Property Owners
Michigan property owners owe a legal duty to people who visit their property. This duty becomes heightened when the visitor is there for the property owner’s financial benefit, such as a store customer. These property owners must warn visitors of potential dangers, regularly inspect the property for potential hazards, and promptly correct conditions on the property that endanger visitors.
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Explaining Negligent Security
Negligent security is a legal principle that allows victims to hold a property owner liable if a visitor suffers injuries because of inadequate security. The legal duties discussed above can extend to others’ criminal acts on the property, such as during a robbery. These cases attempt to hold the property owner responsible for failing to prevent the criminal act that led to the victim’s injuries.
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Property Owners Responsible for Negligent Security
Property owners are not always responsible for the criminal acts of third parties. However, property owners are generally responsible for the actions of their employees through a legal concept known as “vicarious liability,” which the Legal Information Institute (LII) describes as liability that a party in a supervisory position bears for the acts of a subordinate and gives the example of an employer and employee.
Additionally, property owners may have accountability for situations involving the criminal acts of third parties, including criminals, when they could have foreseen a potential for injuries. For example, if your landlord knows of criminal conduct that has happened in your neighborhood and fails to warn you, a court could consider this failure as negligent security.
The Michigan Supreme Court has held that a fact finder must determine a criminal act’s foreseeability based on the totality of the circumstances. Under this test, the court considers several factors when determining whether injuries were foreseeable, such as:
- Whether prior criminal acts have occurred on the property.
- Whether illegal activity has happened in the neighborhood.
- Whether the property owner took steps to protect guests from criminal activity.
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What You Must Prove in a Negligent Security Claim
To establish that a business had inadequate security, you must show the presence of the following legal elements:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care to maintain safe premises.
- The property owner knew or should have known about the risk of criminal activity to its guests or customers.
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent illegal activity from occurring.
- You suffered harm while on the property due to inadequate security.
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Examples of Negligent Security
Negligent security cases are very fact-specific. Some examples when lax security may have played a factor in your injuries include:
- A landlord knows that a tenant has threatened the safety of another tenant and does nothing about it.
- Robbers have hit a convenience store three times in the past year, and the owner has not installed security equipment or hired a security guard.
- A store in a neighborhood with heavy criminal activity does not repair its outdoor lighting, and a woman gets attacked.
Adequate Security Measures to Potentially Avoid Liability
Property owners could avoid responsibility if they show that they took reasonable steps to prevent criminal activity, such as:
- Installing locks, safety gates, or similar hardware to protect guests.
- Installing security cameras or alarm systems on the property.
- Installing alarm systems for a particular tenant who received threats.
- Hiring security guards who monitor traffic into the premises and the behavior of people in the area.
- Training staff on security measures and how to protect customers.
- Escorting customers and employees to their vehicles after dark.
- Installing adequate lighting in outdoor areas and parking lots to prevent criminal acts.
- Calling law enforcement when a dangerous situation arises.
A Detroit negligent security lawyer can help gather evidence to establish whether a property owner could have taken these security measures but failed to take them. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today to learn more.
Time Limit to Bring a Negligent Security Claim
If you suffered injuries because of negligent security, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit under Michigan Compiled Laws §600.5805. If you lost a loved one due to negligent security, such as if a robber murdered your spouse, you have up to three years to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. You might want to contact a personal injury lawyer well before this deadline to preserve your rights and ensure they have enough time to investigate your claim.
Contact a Detroit Negligent Security Lawyer Today
If a criminal hurt you during a robbery or break-in, a Detroit negligent security lawyer could help you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. As a crime victim, you should not have to worry about paying for the resulting medical bills and other damages you have suffered due to criminal conduct and the property owner’s negligence.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. Our attorneys work on contingency, so we do not charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. Contact our firm today at (800) 896-1221 for a free consultation.
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