Inadequate Building Security in Premises Liability Cases

Inadequate building security

Inadequate building security is the cause of thousands of personal injuries each year. Landlords and property owners have a legal duty to protect guests on their premises from accident and attack. If they fail to do so, the victim may have grounds to file a premises liability claim.

What Constitutes Negligent or Inadequate Security?

Hotels, colleges, hospitals, apartments and other properties where people live are expected to be safe. When someone staying at one of these places is robbed, beaten, raped or otherwise attacked, the landlord or owner may be considered legally responsible if it can be shown that the property was not adequately secured.

What constitutes negligent security measures depends greatly on the property itself. In most cases, an attentive staff, video cameras, locks on doors or windows and adequate lighting are enough to discourage most attacks. If these measures are not present, a jury may believe that the property owner did not do everything possible to prevent criminal activity.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is the area of the law which governs the rights of visitors to property owned by someone else. When a visitor enters a property, he or she normally has the right to expect safe conditions, including adequate security to discourage or prevent a criminal attack. Inadequate building security that leads to an attack by a third party may be considered the fault of the owner of the property.

In order to prove a claim based on inadequate building security and recover damages for injuries, victims must usually be able to show that there was a hazardous condition on the property, that the owner knew or should have known, and that inadequate measures were taken to address the problem. The hazardous condition must have been the cause of the injury.

Common premises liability claims based on inadequate building security include:

  • Claims based on defective equipment. If door or window locks do not work properly, or if video cameras or intercom systems malfunction, the victim of a crime may claim that the defective equipment contributed to the hazardous condition of the property and made a criminal attack possible.
  • Claims based on missing safety features. If the owner failed to install video or audio surveillance, gates or other necessary safety features, the victim may claim that the absence of these features led to the criminal attack.
  • Claims based on inadequate security staff. Property owners must hire enough staff who are well-trained and able to respond in the event of a threat. If they fail to do so, the victim may have a premises liability claim. Victims may also have a claim if owners do not properly screen employees for criminal backgrounds.
  • Claims based on failure to inform visitors of threats. If there has already been an attack on the premises and another is likely, the property owner has a duty to inform visitors. Failure to do so could result in a premises liability claim.

In order to support a premises liability claim, the victim must usually show that the owner had prior knowledge of the danger or should reasonably have foreseen the danger. If the victim can show this, he or she may be able to recover monetary compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other expenses or losses related to the case. Contact an experienced Florida Premises Liability attorney at David & Philpot, P.L. today for a free, no obligation review of your case. You can reach us at 800.360.7015.