Rapes and assaults which occur on business property are often the result of inadequate security. Business property owners have a legal obligation to provide a minimum level of security from foreseeable criminal attacks that may occur on their property. Nothing can replace the precautions that each of us should take as individuals to protect our own safety, but some factors remain out of individual control.
Negligent security lawsuits fall under the general category of premises liability claims.
Business owners can be held responsible for failing to provide adequate security when a criminal attack occurs on their property. This includes rape, assault, and even murder resulting from property owner negligence on properties such as:
- Apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Parking lots
- Parking garages
- Shopping malls
- ATM machines
- Amusement parks
Some basic security measures that property owners should employ include:
- Adequate security personnel
- Proper lighting in walkways, parking lots, etc
- Proper key control systems in hotels and motels
- Security cameras and monitoring
- ATM panic buttons
- Building access control
In order to provide adequate security, property owners must be aware of the level of risk of crime in their area and for their type of business. Business owners are required to learn about and address these risks appropriately. For instance, ATM machines pose an elevated risk because customers use them to obtain cash and because they are often used late at night with no one around.
The elevated risk surrounding ATM machines and similar types of business properties are fairly obvious to most people. Other risks can be more subtle. For example, hotels, even upscale hotels, frequented by guests who are not familiar with the area, may be located in a high crime area, or may have a history of criminal attacks.
In addition to basic security features which all businesses are expected to employ, there are other, more specific security standards expected of business property owners including:
- Businesses in high crime areas, and businesses that have a history of criminal attacks on their premises are expected to anticipate a higher level of risk and take extra precautions
- Hotels and motels are required to maintain adequate locks on doors and windows, and hotels and motels in high crime areas are expected to warn customers of the danger
- Landlords who are aware of sexual predators living in the vicinity of rental property have a duty to inform tenants of this risk
- Employers have a responsibility to protect employees from violent attacks in the workplace, and can be held responsible for these attacks above and beyond worker’s compensation if found negligent
- College campuses can be held responsible for attacks on students, particularly in areas where these attacks have occurred in the past
The physical and psychological damage of a rape or assault can never be fully set to rights by monetary compensation alone. Individuals should exercise care for their own safety, be aware of their surroundings, and act accordingly. However, property owners are in a position to be aware of dangers and have a responsibility to take the precautions necessary to create a reasonably safe environment. If you have been raped or assaulted due to negligent security you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one has been attacked, injured or killed due to negligent security, contact an experienced negligent security attorney near you.