August 29, 2019

Who Is Liable for Inadequate Security?

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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You’re probably aware that New York property owners have a duty to keep their spaces safe for others, but you may not realize just how far that legal obligation extends. Beyond making repairs to dangerous physical conditions, additional measures may be necessary to prevent safety threats posed by other people. Criminal activity also creates a risk of injury, and a property owner may be liable for failing to provide proper security under certain circumstances. These claims are grounded in laws regarding premises liability, in much the same way as a slip and fall incident. However, questions and confusion often arise over who is liable for inadequate security.

At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., our lawyers can answer these questions and provide more information about your rights as the victim of criminal activity. We know that a conviction and punishment for the perpetrator may offer you some closure, but the criminal process doesn’t compensate you for your considerable losses. You may also have options in a civil case to seek monetary damages from a negligent property owner. Please contact our firm at 212-490-5700 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a New York premises liability attorney, and read on for some important information.

Legal Foundation for Inadequate Security Claims

As mentioned, premises liability is the basis for these cases. The legal concept of negligence applies, so you must prove four elements to recover compensation:

  1. You need to show that the property owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care in making the premises safe for others. In a negligent security claim, this duty typically attaches where the person or entity knew that there was a pattern of criminal activity at the property.
  2. It’s necessary to prove that the property owner breached this duty of care by not implementing appropriate security measures. Examples might be installing lighting and cameras, or hiring a security guard to patrol the premises.
  3. You must present evidence of a direct link between the owner’s failure to provide proper security and the criminal incident in which you were injured. For instance, you could establish this causation element by showing that lack of lighting allowed an assailant to lurk in the parking lot, and you were hurt in an attack.
  4. You’ll need to prove that you suffered physical, emotional, and financial losses as a result of your injuries.

Potential Parties in a Negligent Security Case

The term “property owner” is used loosely in the elements described above. Liability for failure to provide adequate security is actually much more extensive. To understand what individuals or entities may be responsible, you should first note the wide range of properties that are covered by premises liability laws. Serious injury from a lack of security can occur almost anywhere, such as:

  • Stores and shopping centers;
  • Restaurants, bars, and taverns;
  • Office buildings;
  • Hotels and motels;
  • Apartment complexes;
  • Theaters, museums, and other attractions;
  • Parking garages; and,
  • Many other locations.

As such, potential parties may include any party that has an interest in or control over these types of property. That means you could have a claim against the owner of the owner of the building or land where you were hurt. Plus, you could seek compensation from the operator of a business inside the building, or the entity that manages the property. Both landlords and tenants could also be responsible for negligent security. If you were hurt at an event, you may even have a claim against the promoter if you were injured because of criminal activity.

Of course, many of these parties usually have insurance coverage to protect their businesses or property. In such a situation, you would file a claim under the insurance policy instead of seeking monetary damages directly from the relevant party.

Set Up a Free Consultation with a New York Premises Liability Attorney

Hopefully, this overview helps you understand the basics and general concepts behind claims based upon inadequate security. Still, there are many subtleties and legal issues that make these cases quite complicated. Our lawyers at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. have more than 75 years of combined experience in premises liability matters, so we’re prepared to take on the challenges. Please contact our Manhattan office to set up a no-cost case evaluation today. Call us at 212-490-5700.