Generally, premises liability cases are easily identifiable by practitioners. For example, many lawyers can identify the typical premises case where a potential client explains that she slipped and fell at the local grocery store or fell down loose stairs at her apartment complex. It is also easy to evaluate liability for these types of cases due to the simplicity of the facts and the applicable state law. However, some lawyers often wonder what to do when a potential client calls about them or a family member being a victim of a shooting or sexual assault that occurred on a property and the perpetrator cannot be found. These are identified as negligent security cases, which is a subset of premises liability.
Negligent security cases may arise when a property owner fails to take reasonable and adequate security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal activity and a person, lawfully present on the premises, suffers serious physical injury or death as a result. The contractor, manager, or owner of the premises (i.e., shopping center/mall, apartment complex, gas station, etc.) responsible for providing security can be held liable if they failed to implement proper security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal attacks. In order for the subject criminal action to be deemed foreseeable, it must be proven that the property owner knew or should have known of prior substantially similar criminal incidents that occurred on or within close proximity to the subject premises.
If it is determined that there are a number of prior substantially similar crimes, such as prior shootings, rapes, or other heinous acts of crime, on the subject premises, a court of law will likely determine that the risks, to anyone lawfully on the premises, were foreseeable to the property owner. If you have determined that you can meet this burden, you must also be able to prove that the defendant(s) failed its duty to provide reasonable security and also failed to adequately warn its visitors/tenants of the risk of criminal activity that could lead to injury or death. As a plaintiff, you must also prove that if the defendant had not breached its duties, you (or the client) would not have been injured or died, and as a result of the subject breach of duty, you (or the client) suffered actual damages.
If you have a negligent security-related injury, one of our South Carolina negligent security attorneys at Lee Injury Law can help. Call us at (803) 500-000 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Columbia, SC, we serve clients throughout Lexington, Orangeburg, and Columbia.