When you go to an event, visit a business, or traverse through a property that you were invited to, you generally expect a certain level of safety and security. It’s true that you can never be 100% safe, but there are steps a business or property owner can, and should, take to ensure the safety of their guests.
In some situations, when crime is foreseeable, it might make the most sense for a property owner to hire a security team. It’s necessary for the business owner to hire the right security guards and do their due diligence to ensure that the guards are properly trained to keep their guests safe.
If missteps happen along the way, negligent hiring or training can result in a criminal attack with significant injuries. When an invited guest is injured in these situations, the property owner or business may be liable for those losses.
How’s so? Learn everything you need to know about negligent security claims and how they could impact your business below.
Definition of Negligent Security
Negligent security claims arise as a result of premises liability laws. Under these laws, property owners have a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of individuals they invite onto their properties. Premises liability laws cover homeowners, business owners, and even local governments that take charge of public property.
Negligent security claims happen when property owners fail to uphold their duty of care towards guests by failing to have reasonable security measures on their property. Sometimes, this lack of security arises as a result of negligent hiring or training of security personnel.
When a valid negligent hiring case goes to court, the business owner usually loses the claim. Recent statistics show that employers lose about 79% of negligent hiring claims. To ensure that you have a valid case, you’ll want to know more about the necessary elements you’ll need to prove to win your case.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care
Property owners do have a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of guests, but this duty of care isn’t very specific. When it comes to these types of claims, a property owner’s duty of care is often held to a standard that attempts to determine what steps a “reasonable” property owner would take under similar circumstances.
In other words, if a different reasonable property owner would’ve taken the same steps under the same circumstances, then the property owner isn’t considered negligent. If a different reasonable property owner would’ve taken different steps, however, then courts will often view the other property owner as negligent.
To determine what’s reasonable, courts analyze a variety of factors including the foreseeability of the crime, the steps the property owner did take, and the testimony of other reasonable property owners regarding what they would’ve done.
What Property Owners Must Do to Meet Their Duty of Care
There are some steps a property owner must take in order to meet their duty of care. For instance, it’s reasonable to assume that a property owner who owns an apartment complex in a high crime area would implement adequate security measures to protect tenants. All residents should have doors on their units with strong, working locks. It would also be reasonable to assume the property owner would implement other adequate security measures, too.
Below, we’ll go over some of the most common types of security measures that property owners should consider implementing in order to meet their legal duty of care.
Examples of Adequate Security Measures
Adequate security measures protect tenants from harm while also protecting property owners from liability issues. When adequate security measures are in place, criminals will see the property as riskier and less of a target. That makes crime less likely and tenants more secure. Here are just a few examples of what would be considered adequate security for any type of property:
Adequate lighting is one of the most basic and necessary types of security measures a property owner can implement. Proper lighting should be installed anywhere where guests might be on a property after dark. This includes areas like parking lots, sidewalks outside of businesses, and hallways or common areas in apartment complexes or hotels.
Crime is always more likely to occur under the cloak of darkness, so installing lighting is one way to keep everyone safer.
Another important security measure that should be in place in areas where crime is likely to occur is the installation of security cameras. Most skilled criminals look for and attempt to avoid security cameras, so installing them on your property will serve as a major deterrent.
What’s more, if a security incident does occur, then security cameras can help provide evidence to capture the culprit and prove they committed the crime.
Properly Vetted Potential Employees
Another very important and adequate security measure that should be in place at businesses, hotels, and other facilities is properly vetted employees. When a business hires employees, security guards, or third parties to take on the responsibility of securing their premises, they have a responsibility to properly vet them before hiring them on.
Due diligence for employers often includes looking at the person’s qualifications, background, past criminal record, and personality. Without proper vetting, inefficient employees could eventually lead to a security breach.
If it’s later determined that the employer didn’t vet the employee enough, then the employer could be held liable for the fallout of the security incident. Negligent hiring happens when a person shouldn’t have reasonably been hired by the employer based on their qualifications and past history.
Properly Trained Employees
Employers need to know that their due diligence and legal obligation doesn’t end once they hire an employee. Employers also need to take reasonable steps to ensure that employees are properly trained. The employees need to know how to cope with a potential security incident, what to do if a crime occurs, and how to intervene when possible.
If proper training isn’t in place, then employees may not be able to efficiently safeguard their tenants or guests, which could result in a negligent training and security claim.
Overview of Security Personnel’s Role
Businesses or property owners who know that crime is likely on their premises might take the reasonable step of hiring security personnel to safeguard their premises and guests. When a security guard is on duty, they assume a lot of the responsibility for the safety of the premises.
Security guards are meant to protect people and property from danger. If a security guard is behaving negligently, recklessly, or carelessly while on duty, then that could lead to a security breach, losses, and injuries. If that happens, then liability may rest with the security guard themselves or the employer who hired the security officer depending on the facts of the situation.
What Constitutes Negligence in Hiring and Training?
Negligent hiring and negligent training can both lead to a security incident. Under the law, negligence happens when one party breaches their legal duty of care. When it comes to hiring and training, you’d need to prove the following to show that negligence occurred:
- The property or business owner had a legal duty to provide for your safety
- That party failed to uphold their duty of care
- The breach in the party’s duty to provide for your care directly caused or contributed to the security incident
- The security incident led to specific losses and damages
These legal terms can be a bit confusing, but in a nutshell, you’ll need to prove that the property or business owner was unreasonable when it came to hiring or training the employee. They must have acted in such a way that was outside of the reasonable scope of care. For instance, if someone applies as a security guard and the business fails to do a background check that would reveal the person has committed various felonies in the past and the person winds up hired, then that would be a clear case of negligence when it comes to hiring. Similarly, if no training is provided to a safety officer regarding how to handle a break in, then that would be considered unreasonable, especially if the officer is guarding an area that is likely to be a target for criminals.
Negligent Supervision and Training Claims
Negligent supervision arises when an employer fails to properly supervise an employee. Typically, these types of claims would arise when an employee’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, goes far beyond the scope of their job. For instance, a company may have security guard who is commonly found watching reality TV on his cellphone instead of guarding the premises. While that might not seem like an issue, if a security incident arises, the employer could be held liable for not supervising their employee well enough to know that they weren’t doing their job.
How Poor Supervision or Training Can Lead to Attacks and Injuries
Both poor supervision and training can lead to a security incident with losses and injures. When employers aren’t supervising employees, they are likely to slack off and not perform their duties, especially if there are no negative repercussions for not doing what they should be doing. This can easily lead to a situation where proper safety steps are not being adhered to. Poor training can also lead to a security incident, especially if the employee doesn’t know the right way to handle various security situations.
Are Security Companies Liable for Negligently Hired or Trained Personnel?
When it comes to security companies, they can also be held liable for negligent hiring and training if their security guards are negligent on the job. It’s a security company’s responsibility to do their due diligence when it comes to hiring new security officers and training them effectively.
How a Negligent Security Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been hurt during an attack on someone else’s property, then a negligent security attorney can help you make an informed decision on how to handle the situation. They’ll listen to you explain the facts surrounding your situation and ask more about the losses you’ve endured. From there, they’ll help you determine if you have the legal basis to seek out a claim and whether it would be worth your effort.
The Role of a Security Expert in a Negligent Security Case
If you suspect negligent hiring or training caused or contributed to your recent security incident, then it might be in your best interests to hire a security expert to help you throughout your claim. A qualified security expert will be able to not only explain how the employer’s behavior was negligent and outside of the scope of reasonable steps another employer would’ve taken, but they’ll also be able to testify in court on your behalf if your claim goes to trial. They’ll be able to explain to a judge or jury what steps should’ve reasonably been taken to secure your safety.
Find out our other post about What To Do If You Are a Victim of Apartment Negligent Security.
Do You Think You Have a Negligent Security Claim?
Negligence in the hiring process happens when a business fails to properly vet potential employees before hiring them. Negligent training happens when a company doesn’t do their due diligence in teaching the security officers how to do their job, how to ensure the safety of guests on the property, and what steps should be taken if a safety incident occurs.
Both negligent training and hiring can lead to a safety incident that results in injuries and significant losses. Do you believe your recent incident might be the result of negligent security or training? If so, then you might have the legal basis to seek out a claim.
Consider the losses you’ve endured as well as the circumstances of what happened. If your losses are significant, then your next step should be to consult with a Atlanta negligent security attorney who can help you move forward with your claim.
If you’re ready to get started on your case, then our firm can help you determine whether seeking out a claim is worth your time and effort. Schedule a free and confidential consultation with our office now to discuss your situation in more detail with one of our best lawyers.
If you’re unsure, feel free to contact our Sandy Springs negligent security lawyer. He can offer you an estimate for your case.