Business owners need to ensure that their customers are safe. From a sales perspective, if customers don’t feel safe at a business, they won’t want to come and patronize it. From a legal perspective, keeping customers safe helps minimize the risk of having to defend against a negligent security lawsuit.

Negligent security claims are a type of premises liability. Negligent security claims occur when someone is a victim of a crime on a business’ property. Some common examples of negligent security situations include:

  • A customer being assaulted or mugged in a parking lot
  • A customer being sexually assaulted in a bathroom at a business
  • An intoxicated person assaulting or committing a crime against another patron at a restaurant or bar
  • Someone shooting another person in a store

Many business owners may be surprised to learn that they can be held financially liable for crimes like these that occur on the business’ property even if those crimes were not perpetrated by the owner or their employees. The business could be required to pay for the victim’s medical bills, psychological therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If someone is a victim of a crime on a business’ property, they will need to prove:

  1. The business had a duty of care to protect those invited onto their property, such as customers, suppliers, and others who are legally there.
  2. The business breached that duty by providing inadequate security against a known or foreseeable danger. Common examples of inadequate security include lack of lighting in a parking lot, overgrown shrubbery that creates hiding spots for criminals, or a lack of security guards in a high crime area.
  3. The breach of their duty of care is what led to the plaintiff’s injuries.

The best way to minimize the risk of a negligent security lawsuit is to minimize the risk of a crime occurring on the property. Some approaches to accomplish this are:

  • Installing bright lights in the parking lot
  • Ensuring adequate lighting inside the business
  • Removing or minimizing all shrubbery outside the parking lot and entrance
  • Hiring security guards and making sure they are actively monitoring their assigned spot
  • Installing security cameras and alarms and checking them regularly to ensure they are working properly
  • Clearly marking all exits and ensuring they are easily accessible and not blocked
  • Keeping minimal cash in registers and displaying signage that announces this
  • Conducting mandatory training for all employees on safety guidelines
    • Keeping customers safe is not only good for a business’ reputation, it’s also good for protecting against a negligent security claim. If you have been the victim of a crime at a business, call Rader Law Group today for a free consultation on your case.

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