When we leave our homes and go out into the world each day, there is an assumed risk we all take as citizens of a larger community. Most of us do not draw daily anxiety from the burden of this fact, generally speaking, because any fear of the unknown is largely mitigated by the understanding that security measures and safety precautions have been carefully put in place by the businesses, store owners, and property managers that we trust to have our wellbeing in mind.
After all, that peace of mind is part of the social contract we engage in good faith when patronizing a particular establishment or utilizing spaces open to the public. We expect our safety is guaranteed in those situations, and it is in the best interest of restauranteurs, parking lot managers, and other stakeholders with similar duties to keep us safe – not only because there are consumer protection laws that tell them to – but also because it helps cultivate repeat business from their perspective.
Of course since we are not living in a perfect world, the betrayal of our right to personal safety not only occurs, but oftentimes the very same people entrusted with maintaining these important security practices act negligently causing avoidable harm. Here in Pennsylvania, negligent security falls under the category of premises liability, which refers to the preventable harms and potentially dangerous conditions assumed by a business or property owner in this type of lawsuit.
Perhaps the most relatable example of premises liability is the negligent slip and fall accident, however in more complex cases involving security liability there are many layers of carelessness and neglect that can lead to a successful claim for victims. If you are ever injured or physically assaulted on the premises where you feel your security and safety were negligently undermined, among the factors to consider are:
- Prior history of criminal activity on-site, as well as previous safety concerns and complaints
- The presence (or absence) of security staff, doormen or other hired guards
- Assessing the operational functionality of video surveillance cameras, locks, alarms, proper lighting, fencing, warning signs, etc.
Another critical component of security liability litigation is the influence of crime statistics pertaining to the location under scrutiny. A key issue debated in these cases is the idea that property owners should be able to reasonably predict the possible threats associated with their business, although this is typically a responsibility that the defendant will deny with impunity. This is what makes crime statistics so important – they are quantifiable evidence of potential dangers that may have been overlooked prior to any incident.
For example, if a bar owner in an area of high violent crime is found to have been lax in security protocols such as the number of bouncers hired for a concert event, then that would suggest the owner’s own personal negligence shoulders at least some of the blame for the crime. After this is established, police reports such as arrest records and 911 call logs can then be introduced for further evidence supporting the victim’s claim.
Sustaining an injury or being assaulted when we least expect it is shocking, overwhelming, and confusing. Personal safety is a right that no one should have violated, especially due in part to someone else’s criminal negligence. The capable and skilled attorneys of Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Law work tirelessly in the pursuit of justice for our clients. Just when you think the fight may be over, we are only getting started.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury involving negligent security, contact Joe Stampone or any of the caring attorneys at Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Law.