Can All Businesses be Liable for Negligent Security in California?
In the state of California, there are many businesses that may benefit from establishing a reliable, organized security system. But are these security systems actually required by law? The short answer is no. There are no laws in California that state that certain businesses must enlist the help of security guards and install security devices on their property. That being said, property owners who fail to establish proper security may still face legal consequences in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. When someone is injured as a result of inadequate security, they can file a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner.
With all that said, certain businesses may not be held liable for their inadequate security. If you have been injured due to inadequate security, you should keep this in mind. Even though you may feel that a property owner should have hired more security guards, the court may not feel the same way. Judges may come to the conclusion that the criminal act you experienced could not have been foreseen by the property owner. This “unforeseeability” may be due to a number of factors, including the type of business, past criminal activities reported on the property, and the crime level within the surrounding neighborhood.
If you have been injured due to a criminal act on someone else’s property, you should reach out to a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can guide you forwards in an efficient, confident manner. Although there may be a number of challenges associated with filing a negligent security lawsuit, an experienced lawyer can overcome these hurdles. With the right legal assistance, you can strive towards a settlement that will cover your damages. These damages might include medical expenses, missed wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The “Place and Character” of an Establishment
When determining whether or not a property owner should have established a more advanced security system, courts often consider the “place and character” of an establishment. This is an important legal term that may come in your lawsuit. Basically, the “place and character” of a property are the characteristics that make it more susceptible to criminal acts. As you might expect, some businesses are much more vulnerable to criminals than others.
A flower shop in a highly affluent area has a “place and character” that makes criminal acts unlikely. The neighborhood is not a hotspot for criminals, and the business itself is not the type that attracts thieves or violent individuals. Therefore, this type of business cannot reasonably be expected to hire a team of hardened security professionals and install a state-of-the-art alarm system. Acts of crime are totally unforeseeable in this situation. Because of this lack of “foreseeability,” people who are injured by rare criminal acts on a premise like this would find it very difficult to take legal action against the property owner.
Of course, there are certain establishments that are clearly at risk for criminal activities. The “place and character” of these establishments will also be taken into account by the court, and property owners are more likely to be held liable for security breaches. For example, a late-night bar in a rough part of town has a “place and character” that makes crime highly foreseeable. Not only is a bar more likely to attract unruly and violent patrons, but the business itself is located in an area known for high crime rates. If property owners fail to establish an adequate security system despite these warning signs, individuals who are injured by criminal acts can file lawsuits.
Of course, things are not always so straightforward. What if the flower shop had been targeted by criminals on multiple occasions beforehand, despite the relatively innocuous “place and character” of the establishment? If a clear pattern of violent crime emerges, then the property owner is expected to take reasonable steps to deter future criminals. In this situation, injured victims could hold the property owner liable for injuries. Even though past crimes might have been unexpected, a pattern was still established. Because of this pattern, future crimes become foreseeable, and the property owner should have done something to address the issue.
Types of Businesses that Probably Need Security
Aside from bars, there are a number of other businesses that probably need security. Those who are running these types of establishments should realize that the nature of their business makes security a necessity. Here are a few examples of businesses that can attract criminals:
- Warehouses: Criminals often target warehouses, as high-value items are often stored at these facilities. Depending on the value of these items, a warehouse owner should be expected to establish an extensive security system.
- Schools: Unfortunately, schools have been targeted by a number of shooters and terrorists over the years. Schools should take the necessary precautions to prevent school shootings and develop a clear safety response plan.
- Dollar Stores: While all retail stores run the risk of attracting violent thieves, dollar stores are perhaps some of the biggest crime magnets in the retail industry. This is because these establishments typically attract poorer individuals and those who are desperate.
- Fast Food Establishments: Fast food establishments experience surprisingly high levels of crime, especially if they are open 24/7. These establishments should be aware of the dangers and create an adequate security system
- Nightclubs: When highly intoxicated people get together and party, the potential for violent crime is high. Although many nightclubs hire security professionals, sometimes this is not enough.
- Casinos: Courts have found that when establishments offer freely flowing liquor while encouraging patrons to spend (and lose) money, the potential for crime becomes high. A casino clearly falls into this category.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the California area for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney who can help you with this situation, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We have considerable experience with a wide range of personal injury cases, including those related to negligent security. While there are a number of circumstances that must be taken into account when filing this type of lawsuit, you deserve justice for the injuries you have suffered. Property owners have a legal obligation to protect members of the public whenever possible, and you have every right to hold them accountable if they fail in this duty. Reach out, book your consultation today, and we can develop an effective action plan together.