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Chicago Negligent Security Lawyer

Property owners have legal obligations to ensure the safety of most visitors to their premises. Posting keep-out signs, taking time to install security cameras, adding sufficient lighting, or hiring private guards are just a few examples of proactive measures that a landlord or lessee may need to take to deter foreseeable criminal assaults and otherwise keep their premises safe.

The unfortunate news is that many Chicago property or business owners often turn a blind eye to dangers they know exist, putting visitors at risk of physical harm, including death. Fortunately, Illinois law allows individuals who are hurt due to the negligence of others to hold these parties liable for their lack of concern for safety by filing negligent security claims.

A Chicago negligent security lawyer at Thomas Law Offices can handle claims where inadequate safety measures lead to a victim’s injuries or death. Our attorneys are available to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your legal right to recover financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if you have also suffered harm.

Examples of Negligent Security

Many prospective clients who reach out to our premises liability lawyers inquire about types of negligent security. One common example is when a criminal attack occurs, and a landlord or business owner doesn’t take any decisive measures to minimize the chances of other foreseeable crimes happening.

However, there are many other premises liability situations, such as the ones below, that may necessitate having our Chicago negligent security attorneys take legal action on your behalf. Situations that may warrant the filing of a personal injury case to hold a property owner who chose to provide inadequate security liable for their actions include situations where there were:

  • Security guard concerns: This may involve the non-existence of security officers or merely an inadequate number of or improperly trained guards being on staff to protect visitors, giving way for criminal acts to occur. Additionally, if security guards don’t perform assigned tasks or lack attentiveness in responding to potential safety issues, this too could cause a visitor potential harm.
  • Screening security measures are lacking: There may be inadequate visitor screening measures in place, or thorough vetting of staff members to weed out candidates with violent pasts may not have happened.
  • Inadequate securing of premises: Failures to change locks or access codes after a change in tenancy may leave them vulnerable to a break-in by the previous tenant. The same logic applies if there isn’t a fence erected, or a gate manned, to limit who comes and goes out of a restricted area.
  • Failures to deescalate disorderly conduct situations: When a property or business owner fails to implement proper security protocols for dealing with intoxicated or violent customers or someone committing a criminal act, it could cause what could have been a relatively minor event to escalate into a much bigger one.
  • Crowd control issues: Inadequate crowd control measures may result in visitors not being screened or a stampede in which individuals get trampled.
  • Failures to warn of safety dangers: An example of this is a situation where a landowner had an electric fence surrounding their property and neglected to post a warning to that effect, leaving someone liable to being unknowingly electrocuted if they breached it.
  • Inadequately maintained premises: An example of this may be when bushes were allowed to get so overgrown that they provided cover for a would-be assailant to lie in wait. Another example is non-functional lighting that could increase the likelihood of individuals falling down stairs or being unable to see potholes, curbs, wildlife, persons with ulterior motives, and more that could potentially cause them harm. Inoperative surveillance cameras and an attractive nuisance, for example, could both be seen as causing some kind of foreseeable danger as well.

Of course, this is only a brief listing of many different preventable situations in which someone could suffer serious harm because a business or property owner failed to provide adequate security measures on their premises.

Where Chicago Negligent Security Incidents Occur

Our law firm’s experience in regularly representing clients who’ve suffered harm due to negligent security issues is that these injury or fatal incidents can occur almost anywhere, including the following locales:

  • Office buildings
  • Retail establishments, including grocery stores, supermarkets, big-box stores, shopping centers, or gas stations and adjoining convenience stores
  • Hospitals and other medical care facilities
  • Schools, like colleges or universities
  • Hotels and motels
  • Churches, synagogues, and other religious centers
  • In a parking garage
  • Government facilities, including parks

Dangerous Outcomes Inadequately Secured Premises May Cause

Criminal activity is a notable ill-effect associated with inadequate security. Some of the following outcomes can occur, resulting in individuals unnecessarily suffering injuries or death if security measures are poorly implemented:

  • Sexual assaults: Improperly secured entrances to apartment buildings may allow 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.
  • Physical violence: Someone may leave an office building at night and be subjected to criminal acts, like a mugging, violent carjacking, or robbery involving stabbing, by another person hiding in the untrimmed bushes.
  • Shootings: If background checks weren’t performed on visitors, or if an owner failed to take proactive measures to minimize the chances of it happening, a disgruntled former employee could walk into an office, school, hospital, church, religious center, or nursing home and carry out violent criminal attacks.
Is a property owner's failure to provide adequate security to blame for your or your loved one's injuries? Contact our Chicago law firm to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights if so.
Call us at 502.473.6540 or fill out this form.

Proactive Measures Property Owners Can Take To Avoid Negligent Security Situations

In addition to some of the approaches described above being helpful in minimizing risk to personal safety, if owners provide reasonable security measures, such as the following, it can greatly reduce injury hazards:

  • Increasing the use of security guards: The addition of security guards on staff to circulate parking lots, walk through buildings, and even escort workers, students, and others when leaving buildings alone at night can greatly deter would-be criminals from pouncing.
  • Limiting and tracking usage of facilities: Using computer chip entry cards to restrict or monitor access to a facility housing sensitive information or toxic chemicals that could seriously maim or kill if targeted.
  • Instituting additional ways to deescalate tense situations: Installing panic buttons in environments such as banks, classrooms, and other areas that can silently alert the police of safety concerns before contentious situations result in irreversible harm like catastrophic injuries or death.

As you may surmise after reading these examples, the key element that defines a negligent security incident is that a responsible party fails to uphold their basic duties to ensure the safety of others. From a legal perspective, this construct is described as someone failing to exercise reasonable care.

Understanding the Reasonable Care Standard That Applies to an Illinois Property Owner

Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) Chapter 740 Section 130, or 740 ILCS 130, is our state’s Premises Liability Act. That section of the law spells out the circumstances in which property owners owe visitors a duty of reasonable care. It says that they must exercise concern or caution for the safety of themselves and others by implementing measures that are similar to the ones another rational person would take under similar circumstances.

This portion of the Illinois Premises Liability Act often applies when negligent security situations arise. Property owners must exercise reasonable care in protecting their visitors from criminal acts that can cause preventable injuries or deaths.

Victims may be eligible to file a lawsuit in situations like the ones above where a Chicago property owner’s negligent security is thought to be to blame for what happened. However, it’s important to note that the reasonable care 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 a Negligent 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 during your initial free consultation with the goal of determining whether you fall into one of the three following categories:

  • Invitees: 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.
  • Licensees: 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.
  • Trespassers: 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.

An Illinois premises liability attorney may warn you that different legal obligations apply to owners, depending on whether you were a trespasser versus a licensee or invitee (social guest). Your classification also affects your ability to recover compensation for the injuries you sustained.

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 them. 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 plaintiffs can show that similarly reported issues were previously reported to the owner and didn’t result in any preventative matters, such as installing lights to address insufficient lighting concerns, can further strengthen negligent security cases. In some cases, an experienced negligent security attorney may be able to secure police reports and other documentation showing a long history of problems.

What Attributes To Look for When Choosing Between Chicago Negligent Security Lawyers

A premises liability accident caused by ineffective security may be different from other personal injury cases in that it may involve criminal violence. That’s not always the case, though, as you’ve noted from the list of types of negligent security accidents above.

It takes a specially trained attorney who has extensive experience handling such cases to prove that inadequate security caused an injury or deadly incident. Doing this is key to recovering the maximum amount of compensation.

A Chicago negligent security lawyer would be more than happy to sit down with you for a free case evaluation to learn more about what transpired prior to you getting hurt and to better understand the extent of the injuries you’ve sustained so that they can advise you of your rights under Illinois law.

Reach out to Thomas Law Offices to schedule a free initial consultation. It’s the first step to ensuring an owner is held liable for their negligence that resulted in you amassing significant financial damages, including lost income and medical expenses.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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