Premises Liability and Security Negligence: When Lack of Safety Measures Becomes a Legal Issue


Property owners owe guests and legally allowed visitors the duty of providing a safe and hazard-free environment. Both retail and residential property owners can be held liable if someone is injured on their premises by a criminal act. Still, the lines between adequate and insufficient security are usually blurred and difficult to determine. Victims who have been harmed due to inadequate security measures have the dilemma of determining who’s at fault.

If you’ve been the victim of a crime and harmed physically to the point that it’s caused you financial and emotional hardships, contact Trantolo and Trantolo lawyers. During a free consultation, one of their legal experts will be able to determine who is liable and will fight for your right to compensation.

What Is Premises Liability?

Property owners must provide a safe environment to guests and visitors who are legally allowed on the property. Premises liability law dictates the obligations property owners have to provide a hazard-free environment and the duty to warn guests, visitors, employees, etc., of any potential hazards. This could be as simple as placing a wet floor sign near flooring that’s recently been mopped or providing security measures to thwart violent crimes. Property owners and/or the companies that manage them can be held responsible for any injuries on their properties.

Premises Liability and Security Negligence

As a part of premises liability, property owners and managing agents must ensure that their properties are safe from criminal activities that could cause harm to someone on their property. While this may not play much of a role for residential homeowners, it is of utmost importance to retail businesses where a violent crime is more likely to occur.

Property owners are responsible for doing what they can to help curb or eliminate criminal activity within the areas of their property that are accessible to the general public. Here’s an easily understandable example. A college student living in a communal dorm won’t be able to protect visitors to his dorm, so it’s the college’s responsibility to provide security protection.

If a person is injured due to a criminal act, you may be wondering why the victim would sue the property owner of where the attack occurred. First of all, the attackers are often never located, which puts the victim in a difficult situation. However, since property owners are liable for what occurs on their premises, it’s well within a victim’s rights to hold them liable for their damages.

How Does a Victim Prove the Property Owner Failed to Provide Proper Security?

It is the victim’s responsibility to prove that the property owner failed in some way to ensure that their premises had the proper security measures put in place to protect guests and visitors. They’ll also have the burden of proving that they were lawfully on the property and played no part in the criminal activity that resulted in their injuries.

One of the biggest challenges to a premises liability personal injury case is proving foreseeability. It’s the victim’s burden to prove that the property owner or managing agent failed to provide adequate security measures to protect visitors, residents, employees, or guests of the property against a crime that has caused injuries. For example, if a property’s parking lot has experienced violent muggings in the past, it’s foreseeable that without taking action to prevent them, they’re likely to continue to occur.

What Is Considered Adequate Security?

This is a difficult question to answer since each circumstance is completely different with its own set of nuances. It can range from appropriate and functional locks on doors and gates to highly sophisticated security surveillance and a physical staff of trained security guards. In a legal setting, this would be determined by a judge and/or a jury.

Security Negligence and Premises Liability: The Bottom Line

Suppose you’ve been harmed and feel a property owner or management company failed to provide the proper security. In that case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to recover any damages you may have due to the injury. Cases of this nature can prove to be difficult and complex and, therefore, should never be attempted without the legal guidance of an attorney.