Commercial landlords and businesses in California owe visitors reasonable measures to prevent third-party assaults or other crimes. Reasonable security measures vary depending on the property, but they can include increased lighting, security guards, perimeter protection, and working locks. When the duty to take reasonable measures is breached and someone is injured as a result, the victim may be able to bring a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner or occupier. These incidents often occur near ATM machines, apartment buildings, office buildings, parking lots, stairwells, or shopping malls. If you were the victim of a crime in the Los Angeles area because of negligent security, the premises liability lawyers at Sharifi Firm have experience in these complicated cases.Negligent Security in Southern California
While businesses and property owners are not absolute insurers of their customers' and visitors' safety, too many look the other way after a crime or fail to take appropriate steps in a dangerous area. To prevail in a negligent security case, you will need to show the property owner’s or business' duty towards you, a breach of that duty, and proof that the breach was the proximate or legal cause of the injury. The duty of the defendant can be determined by balancing the foreseeability of the crime against the difficulty of taking the security measures that the plaintiff proposes would have prevented the act.
Generally, foreseeability is based on whether there were prior similar crimes in the area. For example, if a victim is assaulted in the parking lot of a shopping mall, an attorney can investigate whether there were prior assaults in the vicinity. When there are multiple prior assaults in a location, the business or property owner has a duty to take security measures to prevent further attacks on visitors and customers. Usually, courts look at similar crimes. If someone is killed at a liquor store in a high crime area, but there are no prior homicides, this may adversely affect the victim's family's probability of success when bringing a wrongful death claim against the liquor store.
There must be a causal connection between the security measures that the plaintiff claims would have been reasonable and the crime. For example, when a person was assaulted at night in the restroom of a highway rest stop, a court noted that the victim had seen her attacker watching her when she went into the restroom and had failed to show how additional lighting would have stopped the attack. A defendant's act or omission, such as failing to install adequate lighting or failing to hire security guards, must be a substantial causal factor in bringing about the plaintiff's injuries.Discuss Your Injury Claim with a San Bernardino Lawyer
It is common for defendants to bring motions for summary judgment in negligent security cases on the grounds that the plaintiff has failed to sufficiently establish a causal link between the defendant's action or omission and the crime. Often, experienced plaintiff's attorneys will need to retain skillful, trustworthy experts to testify on the issue of what security measures could have prevented a criminal attack. If you are assaulted by a criminal on someone else's property in the San Bernardino area, you may have a claim. Our injury attorneys understand these types of cases and can help you bring a lawsuit to recover the damages to which you may be entitled. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation. We also represent clients in Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and Riverside, as well as other Southern California cities.