Watertown Negligent Security Attorneys
Victims of crime may not only suffer physical injury (along with associated medical costs), but often experience severe emotional trauma. They may miss work and lose their ability to earn income. Even if the attacker is tried and convicted in criminal court, their punishment may not offer adequate financial compensation for the victim.
Property owners are responsible for providing safe conditions for guests, customers and other visitors. When people are harmed as a result of a property owner’s negligence, the owner can be held liable for the victim’s damages.
These situations fall under a specific area of tort law referred to as premises liability. In most cases, this involves accidents such as slip and fall injuries, but can also be related to criminal assault, robbery or rape where the victim was put at increased risk due to inadequate security measures by the property owner.
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Duty to Provide a Safe Environment
Business owners have an obligation to provide a secure environment on their property. These duties can be divided into four general categories:
- Administrative Duty – There must be a system to report and collect information about criminal activity that occurs in or around the premises.
- Employee Security – Employees and job applicants should be screened for criminal backgrounds, especially if the position involves working with the elderly or children. Employees should also be trained to recognize suspicious activity and respond appropriately.
- External Security – Buildings, parking lots and access areas should have security systems and sufficient lighting. These should be regularly maintained and kept in good working condition.
- Interior Security – Hallways, elevators, stairwells and rooms should have effective security measures in place.
Examples of inadequate security include:
- Failure to keep locks in good repair
- Security guard negligence
- Not screening tenants or employees for criminal history
- Failing to respond to warnings or reports of criminal activity
- Insufficient lighting in parking lots or garages
- Lack of security cameras
- Overgrown bushes or trees
Determining Whether Security is Adequate
There are several factors taken into account when deciding whether a property or business owner failed in their duties to provide reasonably safe conditions. Two key elements of determining negligence in duty of care are foreseeability and proximate cause. These are both based on the specific facts of each individual case.
Is the business located in or near an area that has a high crime rate, based on publicly available statistics? Have there been a recent string of crimes in the area? Were fights or other altercations occurring immediately prior to the attack?
These are some of the questions that might be brought up to determine if the owner could foresee harm coming to one of their visitors.
Was bad lighting, or a lack of security guard a substantial factor that contributed to the harm? These questions will follow the determination of foreseeable risk.
It doesn’t matter if the owner can predict the specific nature of the crime, just that a reasonable person might expect attacks to occur in the area. If the owner should foresee harm, they should take steps to reduce it.
Compensation for Victims of Crime
People who have been victims of assault, robbery or rape feel violated and often suffer post-traumatic stress disorder that can last years. Many victims require expensive medical procedures, including surgery, treatment of burns and tests for possible exposure to diseases.
They may have to miss work to recover, and in some cases may experience long-term disability and have to change careers. Many must go through extensive psychological counseling, and often face difficulty in relationships and at work, and lose the ability to enjoy activities they once did.
The Office of Victim Services in Connecticut can offer some compensation to victims of crime. However, there are strict requirements for eligibility and the amount is capped at $15,000 for personal injury reimbursements and $2,000 for counseling, Medical expenses alone can easily exceed this amount.
Property owners who fail to meet their duties to provide a safe environment should be held accountable to crime victims and their families. Many people have recovered compensation from business owners whose inadequate security measures left victims at risk.
The personal injury attorneys at D’Amico & Pettinicchi do not believe negligent property owners should be let off the hook for crimes that happen on their premises. Contact us now for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We will work to recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
D’Amico & Pettinicchi – Experienced Inadequate Security Lawyers. Ph: (866) 848-7077