When is a Security Guard Negligent?

Security guards are some of the most hard-working individuals in California, but they are also capable of negligence. If you believe that security guard negligence has caused you direct harm, you are perfectly entitled to take legal action. When is a security guard negligent? What kinds of actions (or inactions) does a security guard have to take in order to become liable for your injuries? In some situations, the answers to these questions are fairly obvious. In other cases, it may be difficult to determine when a security guard is actually to blame. To determine the truth, we have to examine official regulations in California, basic common sense, and how negligent security lawsuits work in the state.

Of course, establishing negligence is always much easier when you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Our legal professionals can employ a number of skills to determine and highlight specific behaviors that have led to your injuries. These skills include investigative abilities, critical thinking strategies, and overall knowledge of the legal system.

A personal injury lawsuit can lead to a substantial settlement, and these funds can alleviate the financial burden of medical expenses, missed wages, and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages may include PTSD, flashbacks, and other mental health issues you are suffering because of a criminal act that resulted from negligent security.

Security Guard Requirements in California

Before we get into the specific behaviors of a potentially negligent security guard, we need to examine the legal requirements for these professionals in California. Although businesses are not required by law to hire security guards in the Golden State, there are still laws that govern these individuals.

Matters related to security guards are governed by the California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services. All of the state’s security guards and proprietary security officers are registered by this agency.

Proprietary Private Security Officers, also known as PSOs, are essentially unarmed civilians who interact with members of the public while working for a single employer. To become a PSO, individuals must complete a criminal background check through both the California Department of Justice and the FBI. In addition, they must be at least 18 years old.

These individuals must complete 16 hours of training on subjects such as “power to arrest” and  “weapons of mass destruction and terrorism awareness for security professionals.” These PSOs must also complete a minimum of two hours of training each year.

“Security guards” are not the same as PSOs. In California, a security guard is someone who is qualified to work for a company that provides security services to many companies. In contrast, a PSO only works for a single company. Security guards also need to go through background checks, and they must be at least 18 years old. However, they have their own state-mandated training requirements. Because security guards may be armed, much of this training revolves around the use of weapons. These individuals may also need to acquire a baton or firearms permit.

A security guard must complete at least 40 hours of training at a certified facility. This training covers subjects such as public relations, observation and documentation, communication, and legal aspects/liability. These individuals may also take a number of electives, including crowd control, chemical agents, and stun gun training.

If any of these requirements were violated, it becomes much easier to establish negligence. For example, questions will be raised in court about a security guard who has not completed the necessary training, or those who are younger than 18. Perhaps they failed their background check. All of these factors can be taken into account by a judge and jury during a negligent security trial.

Standing by and Watching – Another example of security guard negligence is simply standing by and watching crimes take place without taking any action. Although these individuals are not expected to put themselves in harm’s way when faced with a deadly weapon, they are trained to immediately document and report the crime. This usually means calling the police at the first sign of danger.

This is an example of how inaction can be just as serious as a specific action when it comes to negligence in general. When a security guard becomes aware of an issue, they have a legal responsibility to address it. This is the same logic as a worker cleaning up a spill in a grocery store aisle as soon as they see it.

Violent Security Guards – On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, some security guards take their jobs a little too seriously. Sometimes, people enter the security industry because they want an excuse to physically harm other individuals. Security guards are not allowed to use excessive force against you, and they can face legal consequences for doing so.

Even though security guards often carry non-lethal weapons such as tasers, these devices are capable of doing serious harm. In some cases, tasers and batons can even cause deaths. While it is true that security guards are sometimes justified in incapacitating criminals, mistakes are often made. Innocent people can be mistaken for criminals, and those committing innocuous crimes like trespassing can be gravely injured or even killed by overzealous security personnel.

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 matter, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We have considerable experience with a wide range of personal injury cases, including negligent security lawsuits.

Property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of innocent members of the public, especially if criminal activities are a genuine and obvious threat. It is their responsibility to make sure their security system is up to par, and that includes hiring competent security guards. If you have suffered harm as a direct result of a security guard’s negligence, you have the opportunity to file a lawsuit and recover compensation. Reach out, book your consultation, and we can develop an effective action plan together.