When Negligent Security Results in Wrongful Death

Posted by Randy Andrus | May 17, 2022

Death can be difficult to comprehend no matter the cause, yet, understanding and dealing with the emotional and financial toll that the sudden and unplanned death of a loved one brings can be even more difficult. We know that a legal action cannot bring back a loved one or negate emotional hurt, but a wrongful death claim may provide some financial stability. In this article, we'll discuss how filing a wrongful death claim may work in the event a loved one's death was caused by negligent or inadequate security measures.

If you have questions about a potential wrongful death claim, contact our wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah today for an initial case review. You can schedule your appointment by calling 801-535-4645 or filling out our convenient and secure online form on this page

When Negligent Security Measures Lead to Death

When a loved one's death is caused by the negligence or intentional actions of another, filing a wrongful death claim may be one avenue available to remaining family members in an effort to facilitate financial and emotional recovery. 

A prevalent example of negligence that often leads to severe events is negligent security. Negligent security measures come in many forms – some examples include:

  1. Poorly lit parking lots
  2. An inadequate number of or complete lack of security officers on a property
  3. Improperly secured parking lots
  4. Hotel rooms or apartments with faulty door locks 
  5. Nonexistent or inoperable cameras or alarm systems
  6. Inadequately secured and unsafe shared common areas in hotels or apartment complexes, such as lobbies, gyms, etc
  7. Broken gates or fences on properties
  8. Improper training of employees on what to do in specific events, such as the safe entering and exiting of the property or the proper protocol to follow when a customer is injured 

These are some examples of negligent security that may lead to significant injuries or death, creating property owner liability for losses and damages, such as wrongful death.

Property Owners Have an Obligation to Keep the Public Safe

If your loved one was hurt or passed away as the result of negligent security, the property owner or landlord may be held liable for your loved one's injuries and death. To prove a negligent security claim, some items must be established by the plaintiff and his or her negligent security lawyer:

  1. The defendant owned, leased, or occupied the premises on which the deceased was injured
  2. The defendant practiced negligence in the utilization of the property
  3. The deceased must have sustained injuries that directly led to his or her death
  4. The defendant's negligence must have played a significant role in the injuries and subsequent death

To establish a negligent security claim, it must be apparent that the owner, leasee, or occupier of the premises had an obligation to ensure that it was inspected and maintained to create a reasonably safe environment for the property's intended use. Further, negligence in the reasonable maintenance and care of the premises must be established. A person entering a property may be categorized as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. From there, it can be determined what duty of care the person was owed by the defendant.

Determining the Level of Reasonable Security & Liability

Depending on several factors, a property owner will be obligated to provide a reasonable level of security to visitors. In order to maintain the appropriate level, a property owner must be knowledgeable about various details, which may include:

  • Criminal history on the site and in the area of the business or property. The prevalence of crime determines how much security is needed. If crimes have taken place on the property or near it, subsequent crimes may be determined to have been foreseeable by the owner.
  • The time in which the previous incidents have taken place. If criminal activity has more often occurred at night, more security measures should be taken during night-time hours to discourage similar activities.
  • Previous claims against the business owner exist. 
  • The offender's criminal history is something that the business owner knew about or could have predicted or foreseen.
  • The security measures that similar businesses in the area have taken to protect their public visitors. 

The court will consider multiple questions when determining liability, such as:

  1. Were reasonable safety measures employed when the accident happened?
  2. What was the reason the victim entered the property?
  3. In what way did the victim utilize the premises?
  4. What was the visitor's legal status (invitee, licensee, trespasser)?
  5. Was the accident reasonably foreseeable (an assault due to negligent security in an area that has a history of criminal activity or an unsupervised, open body of water around children)?
  6. Did the property owner take reasonable action in remedying the unsafe situation prior to the accident?
  7. Were visitors warned about dangers that could exist in the utilization of the property?

Hiring a Negligent Security Lawyer When Seeking Wrongful Death Remedies

If your loved one was hurt as a result of a property owner's negligence, and subsequently passed away, you may have an avenue to seek financial recovery with a wrongful death claim. Sudden, unplanned deaths not only leave families in emotional hardship, but can also create significant financial instability, making it even more difficult to heal. If you're currently in this situation, know that you are not alone. To set up a consultation with our negligent security lawyer in Utah, call 801-535-4645 or fill out our confidential and secure online form here

You have the right to heal from your loss without the added stress of financial strain. To understand what your specific legal options are, call our dedicated wrongful death lawyer today. We will fight to give your loved one a voice and get you the financial compensation you need and deserve. 

To read more about wrongful death in Utah, please visit one of our recent blog posts below:

Please note that while we hope that our online content will provide you with a general understanding of certain legal topics, know that our website is not intended to be a substitute for actual legal advice. To answer questions about your legal situation, set up a consultation with our lawyer. 

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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