Most people are familiar with slip and fall cases, dog attacks, and other types of premises liability cases. Plaintiffs in premises liability cases typically allege that a property owner is responsible for maintaining safe property conditions for guests and visitors to the property. What many people do not know is that property owners may also be responsible when a guest is injured as a result of a violent crime that occurs on his or her property, even when the property owner has no relationship to the criminal. Montebello premises liability attorneys know that violent crimes, unfortunately, do happen, but when violent crimes occur in places that should have had better safety measures in place, property owners may be responsible for resulting injuries and damages.
Under California premises liability law, property owners and managers have a duty to use reasonable care to protect guests from someone else’s harmful conduct if the property owner could reasonably anticipate such conduct. This does not mean that property owners are automatically responsible for injuries resulting from violent crimes that took place on their property, however. The key to negligent security claims in California is the foreseeability factor. If the owner should have or could have reasonably anticipated such crimes taking place, he or she may be responsible for negligent security on his or her property.
Factors that may affect whether or not a violent crime and resulting injuries were reasonably foreseeable include the following:
- Whether or not violent crime had occurred on the property in the past. The crime does not necessarily have to be the same type of crime, but if any violent crime had occurred on the property in the past and the property owner failed to take reasonable safety measures to prevent another violent crime, he or she may be liable for negligent security.
- Whether or not a violent crime had occurred near the property or on similar property in the neighborhood. For example, if someone was mugged in a convenience store parking lot and there had been three other recent muggings in nearby retail parking lots, a jury could find that it was reasonably foreseeable that a mugging could take place in the convenience store parking lot.
- Even if there had been no previous crimes on the property or in the area, if there was a lack of security measures which made guests on the property easy crime targets, that may be enough to find that the property owner provided negligent security. This may include dark parking lots without lighting or lack of security cameras where you would expect to see cameras.
Common venues for negligent security claims
Negligent security claims frequently occur in places such as:
- Retail parking lots, parking garages, and stairwells
- Residential rental properties
- Sporting events
- Cash machines, banks, and bank parking lots
If you have sustained injuries due to a lack of security on someone else’s property, contact a Montebello premises liability attorney at The Hayes Law Firm, APC to schedule a consultation.