Most people know that when you are hurt on someone else’s property due to a dangerous condition, you may be able to recover compensation from the property owner for your injuries and suffering. However, failure to provide adequate security can also make the property owner liable for attacks or robberies that occur on their premises. If you or a loved one was injured or assaulted in a public place, you may have a case regarding negligent security. Trust an experienced personal injury lawyer at Tyroler Injury Law to answer your legal questions and fight for your right to compensation. Call us for a free consultation at (651) 259-1113.
What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a type of premises liability claim. Property owners are legally responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe, which in some cases may require them to provide adequate security. When someone is intentionally injured by a third party on another property, while the assailant is typically the responsible party, the owner of the property may also be held liable for the victim’s injuries. Wisconsin jury instruction 8045 refers to this cause of action as the duty of a proprietor of a place of business to protect a patron from injury caused by an act of a third person.
Examples of Negligent Security
Negligent or inadequate security cases often arise in public places, such as:
- Restaurants and bars
- Stores and malls
- Parking lots and garages
Apartment buildings and college dormitories are also a common source of negligent security claims, as there may be a heightened duty for property owners to provide security to prevent unauthorized access to apartment buildings.
Elements of Negligent Security in Wisconsin
Inadequate security is a form of negligence. Negligence generally requires that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, breached that duty, and that breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Negligent security is a unique cause of action because, unlike most negligence lawsuits, the injury was often the result of the intentional, criminal act of a third party. These cases often stem from robberies, simple assaults, sexual assaults, or other violent crimes that occur in a public place or a place where you would have a reasonable expectation of security. To prove that the property owner was negligent in failing to provide adequate security, the victim must generally show:
- They were allowed to be on the property
- The property owner failed to provide reasonable security
- The victim was injured by acts that were reasonably foreseeable to the property owner
- The failure to provide security was the cause of the injury
- The victim suffered damages as a result
It can be difficult to prove negligent security because you must show that the defendant property owner reasonably should have known that crime was likely to occur on its property. This can be challenging to prove unless you can find evidence that the property owner knew or should have known about prior incidents that have occurred on its property. At Tyroler Injury Law, our negligent security lawyers know what evidence to look for and how to meet these difficult evidentiary challenges.
Examples of Inadequate Security
Though the standard will vary depending on the circumstances, some of these conditions may constitute inadequate security if it can be proven that they caused the victim’s injuries by allowing the criminal acts to occur.
- Broken security cameras
- Broken locks, gates, or fences
- Dim or no exterior lighting
- Lack of security guards
- Poorly trained or careless security guards
One defense that may hinder your ability to recover compensation under a negligent security claim is comparative negligence. Under Wisconsin Statutes Section 895.045, if you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you are barred from recovering damages. For example, if you were injured in a fight where you are found to have provoked the assailant, the jury may find that you are more than half responsible for your injuries, in which case you would be barred from recovering under a negligence claim.
However, if you are less than 51% at fault, but still found to be partially responsible, your damages award may be proportionally decreased. For example, a jury may find that you put yourself at risk, such as by walking through a part of town known to have had higher crime rates, when you could have taken a more well-lit path. In this case, the jury may say you are 25% at fault for your injuries. Your compensation would be reduced by the same proportion.
It is important to consider visiting with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injuries in order to better understand your legal right to pursue both compensation and justice.
What to Do If You Were Attacked on Someone Else’s Property
After being attacked, you may be suffering from physical injuries and psychological trauma. Always seek medical treatment for your injuries. Your health and safety should be your top priority. A medical record may also serve as useful evidence if you decide to take legal action against the assailant and/or the property owner who provided inadequate security.
You should also call the police right away and file a police report. Remember that a negligent security claim is not a criminal case. There may be an ongoing criminal investigation into your attack in addition to your lawsuit. Give the police a full account of what happened so they can document it in their report.
Finally, it may be in your interest to speak to a negligent security lawyer to see if you have a strong case. Some questions to consider before speaking to a negligent security lawyer:
- If it was nighttime, was there adequate lighting that you could safely get to your car or destination?
- Were you in a high-crime area?
- Did you see any security guards on duty? Did it seem like there should have been a security guard on duty?
- Did you notice security cameras or alarms?
A negligent security lawyer at Tyroler Injury Law may help you investigate your case and determine if the property where you were injured had failed to meet a reasonable security standard.
Call Tyroler Injury Law for a Free Consultation
At Tyroler Injury Law, we are willing to go up against large companies and their insurers to fight for compensation for our clients so they can focus on their physical and emotional recovery. Our clients do not owe us anything unless we win their personal injury case. Call us at (651) 259-1113 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.