Negligent Security and the Law

Posted by Randy Andrus | Feb 22, 2022

A negligent security claim may be filed against a property owner when a customer/visitor is foreseeably injured due to inadequate security measures by the property owner on his or her premises. A negligent security claim often arises when someone has been robbed, assaulted, battered, mugged, raped, or suffered a wrongful death on a premises. Some common places in which negligent security incidents occur are gas stations, parking lots, garages, school campuses, apartment complexes, hospitals, banks, and more. In this article, we'll discuss negligent security and the law – from the elements needed to prove liability in a negligent security claim to the legal status of visitors to a premises. 

If you or a loved one have been injured on someone else's property due to lack of proper security measures, you may have a negligent security claim. For an initial consultation and case review, call our negligent security attorney at 801-400-9860 or fill out our confidential contact form here

A Civil Lawsuit May Help You Recover

Property owners can be held criminally liable for negligent security on their premises. No matter what the outcome of the criminal proceedings is, a civil lawsuit can help victims and their families financially and physically recover. Civil lawsuits allow victims to recover a wide range of damages, including past and future medical bills, prescription costs, lost income, emotional and psychological damages, and more. A civil negligent security claim may include the following types of damages:

  • Economic damages - These damages are easily calculated into a monetary value by adding all of the losses incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant's negligence (medical bills, lost wages, etc)
  • Non-economic damages - These damages compensate the plaintiff for more subjective injuries, such as emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, wrongful death, etc.
  • Punitive damages - Sometimes punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff by the court as a form of punishment to dissuade the defendant from future behavior that is especially harmful to society.  

Proving a Negligent Security Claim

To have a negligent security claim, some legal criteria must be present:

  1. The defendant must have owned, leased, or occupied the premises where the injury happened
  2. The defendant must have been negligent in the utilization of the property
  3. The plaintiff must have sustained injuries
  4. The defendant's negligence must have contributed to the plaintiff's injury

It must also be evident that the defendant owed the public a reasonable duty to maintain the security of his or her property, keeping up with the maintenance and inspection of the premises, and providing a reasonably safe environment for the property's intended use. 

Gathering Evidence

To prove a defendant had inadequate security on the property, your negligent security attorney will collect an array of evidence. Evidence will include support that the defendant knew about the inadequate measures and had “constructive knowledge” that the crime/incident was foreseeable. In negligent security cases, constructive knowledge refers to the owner's knowledge of criminal activity in the vicinity, providing the owner with reasonable foreseeable knowledge that similar crimes or incidents could occur on his or her property. When an owner has this knowledge, he or she is required to take appropriate measures to prevent similar foreseeable incidents on his or her premises. Some examples of evidence that the owner should have had constructive knowledge may be the number of police calls on a specific premises or the number of crimes over a period of time in the surrounding area. 

Some examples of an owner's failure to acknowledge and prepare for foreseeable incidents in a negligent security case are:

  • Failure to repair broken locks
  • Failure to mend broken fences or gates
  • Failure to install or maintain security cameras
  • Issuing multiple keys or access codes to shared spaces
  • Failure to hire enough security officers
  • Failure to hire properly trained security officers
  • Failure to provide and maintain adequate property lighting

There are many moving parts when it comes to securing a premises; as such, an owner isn't expected to know or implement every protection possible. However, he or she is responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect visitors. Proving an owner's unreasonable risk is one of your negligent security attorney's jobs.  

The Legal Status of a Visitor

In Utah, the premise owner's obligation to a victim depends on the victim's legal status. As such, an injured person's legal status may impact their negligent security case. Utah recognizes three main types of visitors:

  1. Invitee - Someone who has been invited to the property by the owner. For example, a customer in a store is considered an “invitee.”
  2. Licensee - Someone who enters the property by his or her own choice and with the property owner's consent.
  3. Trespasser - Enters the property without the right to do so.

Let Our Negligent Security Attorney Review Your Case

For 37 years, Randy Andrus has fought for the rights of his clients. He and his team at Andrus Law Firm work hard to get clients the legal compensation they deserve and need to recover. If you've been injured on someone else's property as a result of inadequate security cameras, poor lighting, or another form of negligent security, contact us today at 801-400-9860. You may also fill out our confidential online form, and we will reach back out to you to schedule your initial consultation. 

For more information on negligent security, check out our blog and other website resources. Remember that you are not in this alone – we're waiting for your call.

About the Author

Randy Andrus

BIO   Education University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (LL.M. 1987) Business and Taxation – Transnational Practice Courses and International Bar Association Convention, Salzburg, Austria Southwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1984) Dean's List American Jurisprudence...

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