Negligent security is applicable in all states. However, you will find some variations in how each state deals with negligent security claims.
Negligent security claims typically arise from a criminal act on a commercial or residential property. A classic claim for negligent security typically involves someone assaulting or shooting another person at a mall or hotel. Generally, all states recognize that property and business owners have a duty to ensure reasonable security. Visitors to a property should have some level of protection from foreseeable crimes.
Reasonable security measures, depending on the property in question, can include:
- Hiring security personnel
- Alarm systems and security cameras
- Physical barriers such as locks and gates
- Sufficient lighting on and around the property
For example, plaintiffs in a negligent security case could allege that a criminal act would not have happened if there had been adequate lighting at a property. Proving the foreseeability of a crime is crucial. A plaintiff typically needs to prove that a property owner or business owner should have foreseen a crime. States may differ in their interpretation of foreseeability, which the Legal Information Institute (LII) defines as “the ability to reasonably anticipate the potential results of an action.”
While all states have negligent security laws, the details of such laws and interpretation of a business owner’s responsibility can vary from one state to another.
State Laws Dealing Specifically with Property Security
Lawmakers in some states have recognized the need for prescribing property security measures in applicable statutes. Complying with these statutes can help a business owner or property prove that they provided their customers or visitors with adequate protection. This could potentially make it harder for victims to sue for negligent security.
One statute dealing with state-specific property security issues is Florida Statutes §812.173. This statute deals with security in convenience stores in the state. It lays out in detail the measures a convenience store owner or operator must take to ensure adequate security of the premises, including:
- A security camera system
- A drop safe or cash management device
- A well-lit parking lot
- A notice stating that the cash register contains $50 or less
- A silent alarm connected to law enforcement or a security firm
The statute also specifies the additional measures a responsible party must take if a murder, battery, sexual assault, or other violent crime happens at the property. If a business complies fully with the statute, any crime victims might struggle to sue the business owner for negligent security. However, a negligent security lawyer can assess a case and recommend any further action, if applicable.
A plaintiff must also account for numerous other state-specific laws when considering negligent security litigation. When it comes to municipal liability, such as when a government or city owns a property, a plaintiff must usually file a notice of claim before they can proceed with any litigation. The time available for filing notice against a government entity can be as short as 60 or 90 days. The notice of claim gives the government entity time to investigate a claim before litigation can commence.
Each state also has different statutes of limitations that deal with the length of time a plaintiff may have available for filing a negligent security claim. Statutes of limitations in civil cases can be as short as one year (Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee) and as long as six years (Maine and North Dakota). Not filing a claim within the appropriate time-frame can lead to a victim missing the chance to claim compensation.
Since so many variables play into your decision, depending on which state you reside in, you might want to consult a negligent security lawyer for help. An attorney will know the applicable statutes and time limits that apply in your state and identify your next best steps to get justice.
Compensation in Negligent Security Claims
Negligent security applies in all states. If you have a negligent security claim, you could potentially sue a business owner and recover economic and non-economic damages, depending on your specific injuries and circumstances. Economic damages can include:
- Hospital stays
- Medical devices
- Physical therapy
- Loss of income
- Replacement of damaged or stolen property
- Out-of-pocket expenses
You could also receive non-economic damages, particularly if you suffered severe injuries that might have long-term impacts on your ability to work or resume your previous life. Noneconomic damages can include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disability and permanent disfigurement
- Psychological effects and emotional distress
- Loss of life quality and enjoyment
A negligent security lawyer can help assess your damages comprehensively, including future expenses you could incur with any injuries.
Call a Negligent Security Lawyer Today
A crime victim in most states could have legal recourse with a third party, such as a property or business owner. If the responsible party failed to take the appropriate steps to make their property reasonably safe for visitors, victims could potentially file a civil lawsuit and recover considerable damages.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a potential negligent security claim, Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help. Call our legal team now at (800) 896-1221 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.