All property owners must ensure that their visitors are met with safe premises when they visit. This obligation may warrant a landlord taking measures to enhance visitor safety, including installing security cameras or additional lighting, drafting new safety protocol, or hiring private security.
Situations in which there has been an increase in reports of petty crimes, for example, may warrant the posting of keep-out signs or the installation of cameras. A reasonable business owner may also need to hire private security to circulate their premises if it’s located in an unsafe area.
What Constitutes Unsafe Premises?
Many prospective clients who reach out to our Chicago premises liability lawyers inquire about what rises to the level of unsafe premises. A variety of circumstances can render a property dangerous or hazardous, and thus unsafe, such as:
- No fence around a swimming pool
- Broken or uneven pavement
- Parking lot potholes
- Inadequately lit stairwells
Warning signs should be posted letting visitors know of any potential dangers. These efforts send a message that a property owner knew of issues that existed if an injury incident occurs. Some situations may warrant hiring security to enhance visitor safety, though.
What Are Examples of Inadequate Security Situations?
While some of the elements described above may render a property as unsafe in that it leaves visitors vulnerable to getting hurt while there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the implementation of further reasonable security measures would reduce injury hazards. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including if:
- Someone might view the premises as ideal for carrying out a crime of opportunity (such as employees coming and going alone late at night)
- A facility houses sensitive information or toxic chemicals, that could seriously maim or kill if targeted
- The place of business is in a rough neighborhood or there’s a recent uptick in crime
Scenarios like the ones mentioned above may warrant the implementation of security measures, including surveillance cameras, additional lighting, trimming of hedges, and hiring of security guards. This may not eliminate all the security dangers patrons face, though.
Safety Concerns That Often Result in Negligent Security Lawsuit Filings
Any negligent security attorney here at Thomas Law Offices hears a wide range of accounts about what transpired leading up to a prospective client’s premises liability accident. Many of those narratives describe situations in which property owners didn’t provide adequate security measures, and thus, a property owner’s negligent security is attributable to the following and is to blame for them getting hurt:
- An inadequate number of security guards on staff at any given time
- Inadequate visitor screening measures are in place
- Failures to change locks or access codes after a change in tenancy
- Not thoroughly vetting staff members to weed out ones with violent pasts
- Lack of attentiveness among security in responding to potential safety issues
There are even instances in which a property owner fails to implement proper security protocol to deal with intoxicated or violent customers, or someone committing a criminal act. An employer’s inadequate crowd control measures may fail to protect visitors and thus result in their injuries or deaths.
Where Chicago Negligent Security Incidents Occur
The Chicago, IL personal injury attorneys at Thomas Law Offices regularly represent individuals who have suffered harm due to a property owner instituting negligent security measures at their business, including at the following locales:
- Grocery stores or supermarkets
- Big-box stores or shopping centers
- Gas stations and adjoining convenience stores
Various Other Office Buildings
Our representation of clients who have been injured because security officers were neglectful doesn’t stop there, though. Our personal injury law firm also builds Chicago negligent security cases against any business property owners, including ownership of the following:
- Highrise office buildings
- Schools, including colleges and universities
- Parking garages
- Government facilities
How Attorneys Help Clients With Negligent Property Matters
Discussing your case with an attorney will allow you to learn more about legal issues related to your case, including how inadequate and adequate security differ. You’ll also learn how to best recover financial compensation for your hospital costs and ongoing medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that your injuries caused. Schedule a free consultation today.
Dangers Inadequately Secured Premises May Pose
Criminal activity is a notable ill-effect associated with inadequate security. Poorly implemented proper security measures can result in criminal activity, and thus, someone’s injuries or death, including:
- Improperly secured entrances to apartment buildings may allow for former tenants to lie in wait for a new one to return so that they can commit a sexual assault or another criminal attack if locks are left unchanged.
- Someone may leave an office building at night and be subjected to criminal acts by another person hiding in the untrimmed bushes.
- Insufficiently lit or surveilled stairwells or corners in a parking lot or garage that are left unchanged may increase a user’s risk of being subjected to criminal attacks or becoming involved in a car accident. Filing an uninsured motorist claim may help in a car accident case, but not if someone was hurt due to criminal violence.
- Background checks weren’t performed on visitors or a disgruntled former employee may walk into an office, school, hospital, church or other religious center, or nursing home and carry out violent criminal attacks if an owner failed to take proactive measures to minimize the chances of this happening.
Understanding the Reasonable Care Standard That Applies to a Property Owner
Property owners must exercise reasonable care in protecting their visitors from criminal acts. This standard is a comparative one where judges and juries are tasked with determining liability. Their goal is to decide if a defendant’s actions are aligned with what a similar business in the same geographic area would have taken when weighing whether negligence occurred.
How To Build an Inadequate Security Liability Case
Holding a business owner liable for injuries you suffered depends on several factors, including:
The Purpose of a Person’s Visit
Determining liability in premises liability cases comes down, in part, to why you were at a particular property. Your Chicago negligent security attorney will inquire about the reason you visited a particular business at your initial free consultation meeting. Your Chicago negligent security lawyer will do so to determine whether you fall into one of the three following categories:
Anyone who visits a property at the request of another individual will generally be classified as an invitee. The law assumes that a property owner and its tenants have likely taken all reasonable steps to render its premises safe before inviting someone else to their premises in situations like this.
Someone who visits a property with the prior expressed consent of its owner. This individual is seen as being a welcome visitor to the place of business.
This label is assigned to individuals who visit someone else’s property without first procuring the owner’s approval to do so. Existing laws don’t generally see a property owner as owing any guarantee that their premises are safe since they never extended any welcome for the trespasser to visit.
How Visitor Status Impacts Rights To Pursue Negligent Security Cases
An Illinois premises liability attorney may warn you that your ability to recover compensation for your injuries is greatly diminished if you were a trespasser versus a licensee or invitee (social guest). An experienced attorney often warns their clients to only report facts to insurance companies. Not using discretion in speaking with an insurance company could jeopardize how much in compensation you can recover in your case.
How Foresight Impacts Your Negligent Security Claim
Another factor that also affects whether you have a solid negligent security claim is foreseeability. Proving that any landlord should have foreseen the risks associated with their security choices (or lack thereof) lays the ground for a plaintiff to argue that the incident was preventable.
How Patterns of Negligence Affect a Negligent Security Claim
It also matters if similar incidents have been reported before and how a business owner addressed it. Plaintiffs that can show a pattern of negligence are more likely to make a strong case for why a property owner should be held liable for their actions. Instances where they can show that similarly reported issues previously went unaddressed can further strengthen their cases.
Documentation of how an inadequate number of or improperly trained guards or their lack of responsiveness didn’t provide adequate security is key to prove in negligent security cases. Showing that there was insufficient lighting or limited security cameras may do the same.
What Attributes To Look for When Choosing Between Chicago Negligent Security Lawyers
Incidents attributable to ineffective security are different from other personal injury cases in that they often involve criminal violence.
It takes a specially trained attorney in practice areas like this who knows how to prove that inadequate security caused an injury or deadly incident. Doing this is key to recovering the maximum amount of compensation.
Reach out to Thomas Law Offices to schedule a free case evaluation so that we can discuss any information presented to an insurance company and how to navigate the legal process to ensure a property owner is held liable for their indiscretion today.