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Is a business or landlord liable for crime on their property?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Dangerous Property

Slip-and-falls involving puddles of rainwater inside apartment buildings or spilled products on supermarket floors are probably the best-known catalysts for premises liability claims. Most people have heard of cases wherein a business customer or a visitor at a property has slipped, fallen and sustained injuries because of poor maintenance practices.

However, people often don’t know about the many other circumstances that could also give rise to premises liability claims. Negligence is the common factor that connects most premises liability claims, and negligent security is one of the more common mistakes by a business that might lead to patrons getting hurt.

What constitutes negligence security?

Those looking to commit opportunistic crimes often select locations where they believe they will have quick and unobserved access to a specific demographic of victims. For example, those hoping to drug someone to take advantage of them will likely frequent bars and nightclubs, rather than family restaurants. There are certain kinds of crimes that are reasonably predictable given a business’s location and business model. Although no company can reasonably prevent all crimes, most businesses can take steps to minimize the risk of common crimes that their operations might encounter.

There are also baseline security measures, including the installation of outdoor lighting and parking areas and the use of security cameras or paid security guards, that most people would recognize are necessary for the protection of employees and patrons in certain areas. If the average person would hear about how the company tried to protect patrons from criminal activity and would agree that they failed to take common-sense measures that would likely have a positive effect, then the business is at risk of liability based on negligent security claims.

Business insurance can help those affected by crime

Most businesses have general liability policies and also often premises liability coverage. It may be possible to file an insurance claim seeking compensation for the provable financial losses stemming from criminal activity at a business or on someone else’s property. People may need to recover medical expenses and property damage losses, as well as lost wages in many cases.

Seeking legal guidance in order to pursue a premises liability claim can potentially lead to compensation for those who have been harmed by the negligence security practices of a business or property owner.