While the violent crime rate was on the decline for years, the recent pandemic changed all of that. Since 2019, crime rates have been on an upward trend, which also means that negligent security cases are increasing, too.
Security negligence cases arise when a property owner, business, or land manager fails to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of individuals they invite into their space.
Ultimately, this lack of security can lead to a security incident and injuries. The person who sustains injuries and losses can use premises liability laws to seek out compensation for their losses. Generally, it’s the property or business owner who pays for these losses.
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Suppose you believe you were involved in a security incident that a lack of security measures could’ve caused. In that case, discussing your situation with a lawyer with previous experience handling negligent security cases might be in your best interest. Learn more about these types of claims and security cameras’ role when your incident arises in an apartment complex.
Definition of Negligent Security
Negligent security is a type of claim that arises as a result of premises liability laws. Under premises liability laws, property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety and care of anyone they invite onto their property. When these property owners fail to uphold their duty of care, they can be held financially liable for the fallout of any security incidents that result from the lack of security.
Security negligence cases can help injured individuals seek monetary compensation for losses they may have endured due to the security incident. This compensation can help the person cover losses in the form of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The Role of Security Cameras in Apartment Complexes
Negligent security cases happen when the property owner doesn’t take enough steps to ensure the safety of their guests. When it comes to apartment complexes, property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that residents are safe.
Often, security cameras play a crucial role in this process.
Security cameras help prevent crime. When considering whether committing a crime is worth it, one of the first things they often think about is whether anyone will see them commit the act or get caught. When security cameras are present, individuals are deterred from committing crimes because they know that their actions are being recorded.
Security cameras can also serve as evidence after a crime has already been committed. Since this type of evidence often leads to a conviction, it’s a very important feature for apartment complexes to have on site. Security camera footage protects a resident by ensuring that justice is served even when the property owner can’t physically prevent a crime from occurring.
Legal Duties Owed to Tenants by Property Owners
Security negligence cases come about as a result of premises liability laws. Under these laws, property owners have a legal obligation to:
- Take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of residents
- Provide adequate security on the property
- Make the property safe for residents and invitees
When an apartment complex owner breaches this duty of care by failing to provide adequate security measures, they can be held civilly liable for the damages that result from any security incident that arises.
At first glance, this might seem like the property owner is liable for the criminal’s actions, but that’s not true. The law does not assume that apartment complex owners can prevent all types of crime. Instead, the law assumes that apartment complex owners will take reasonable steps to keep their residents safe.
Reasonable Steps to Ensure Adequate Security Measures
Since negligent security cases rely on the fact that the property owner failed to uphold their duty of care, it’s important to understand what exactly the law means when it states that owners must take “reasonable steps” to ensure the safety or residents and guests.
A property owner’s “reasonable” level of care may vary based on several factors. For one, it makes a difference whether crime happens often in the area around the apartment complex. If crime is rare in the area, then the apartment complex owner’s level of vigilance will expectedly be lower. If crime occurs regularly in the area, however, then the owner has a duty to provide greater security measures.
In many security negligence cases, it makes a difference whether the criminal activity was potentially foreseeable or not.
In general, if another apartment complex owner in a similar situation would’ve reasonably foreseen the criminal act, then the property owner will be considered negligent. If another owner would not have been able to reasonably foresee the incident, however, then the owner won’t be considered negligent.
Some negligent security cases arise when property owners fail to hire adequate security for their apartment complexes. In general, security guards aren’t usually necessary, but they might be considered a necessary and reasonable security measure if violent crime has occurred repeatedly in a complex.
Parking Lots and Poor Lighting
In general, apartment complex owners have a legal duty to provide adequate lighting in parking lots and other public spaces. Adequate lighting can help deter and prevent several different types of crimes.
Security cameras are another security measure that apartment complex owners should consider installing. A security camera not only helps protect owners from negligence claims but also helps protect residents since cameras deter crime.
Violent Crime and Dangerous Conditions
Many security negligence cases arise after violent crimes or dangerous conditions lead to serious injuries. In many of these situations, the ultimate incident and resulting damages could’ve been prevented if the property owner had upheld their duty of care.
Premises Liability Attorneys
Not every crime or security incident that happens at an apartment complex will give rise to a legal claim. The only way that the harmed individual can seek out a civil claim is to prove all the elements of a negligent security claim exist in their situation. Under the law, that means they need to prove that:
- The apartment complex owner had a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of residents
- The owner failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of residents
- The negligent security directly caused or contributed to a security incident
- The security incident led to specific damages
If you can prove these elements, then you have a potentially successful claim on your hands. Do you think you might have the basis to seek out a claim? If so, then it makes the most sense to discuss what happened with a premises liability attorney who can help you take the next steps in pursuing compensation.
Security Cameras and Negligent Security Claims
Negligent security cases arise in apartment complexes when the owners of the building fail to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their residents. Security cameras often play a crucial role in helping to deter crime, solve ongoing investigations, and serve as evidence to convict criminals.
If your apartment complex didn’t have adequate security measures in place and you were involved in an incident that led to losses, then it’s important to research your legal options. If you think you have the basis to seek out a claim, then it makes the most sense to consult with an attorney who has ample experience handling security negligence cases.
Schedule a consultation with our lawyers now to discuss your situation in more detail with one of our Atlanta negligent security attorneys.