Negligent/Inadequate Security: What Does a Plaintiff Need to Prove?
I’m Brian Ricci, a Pitt County personal injury lawyer. Entering someone else's premises comes with an expectation of safety from harm from a third party. In other words, you've stepped foot in a store in Greenville and at no time do you think that you're going to be robbed or injured by a criminal because there should be adequate security. After all, it's the landowners responsibility to provide a safe environment that's free from criminal elements. Except there are many North Carolina landowners who don't feel that they're responsible for maintaining the safety of their property. Where and how they provide security depends on the kind of control they have on the property, but they can't ignore security entirely either.
What Does a Plaintiff Need to Prove a Lack of Security?
In the event someone feels that the landowner or possessor failed to provide proper security, they have the right to sue that individual or entity. It's not enough to have an offender arrested by Greenville law enforcement and convicted of charges although it can certainly aid the case. The state of North Carolina does have a victim's rights act, but these rights are exercised during the criminal trial. A plaintiff has to be able to demonstrate that the landowner or possessor failed to provide a reasonable amount of security. Essentially the plaintiff has to show that they would not have been injured had the possessor provided adequate security in the first place. The plaintiff also has to demonstrate that they received actual damages.
Another area of proof that comes into play is foreseeability. That is, was this a foreseeable crime based on past history? A history of criminal activity on the property can demonstrate that the landowner knew of the problem and failed to take action to prevent further criminal activity. However, if the crime committed was a violent one and the prior criminal activity was non-violent, the crime might not be considered as foreseeable.
What is Considered Adequate Security?
There is no one answer that fits all questions when it comes to adequate security. Someone hosting an event that is known to attract a rowdy crowd can be expected to bring in security guards and other measures in an attempt to prevent crime from happening. Whereas someone who lives in a multi-unit building can't be expected to have any reasonable amount of control over security issues in their parking lot. However, the person who lives in a multi-unit building can be expected to have functioning locks and control of who gets copies of the keys. And then there are state laws that lay out how some types of properties are to be secured. For example: North Carolina has security laws that govern how convenience stores must protect employees and customers from violent crime.
A victim of a violent crime is best served by consulting with an attorney to determine what kind of case he or she has. And in a similar vein, a business owner should consult with a lawyer to determine if the amount of security they provide is adequate or needs to be brought up to codes and/or standards. It's true that not all crime is preventable, but it can be minimized with adequate security measures. A lack of them gives crime an opportunity to flourish.
Greenville, NC Premise Liability Attorneys
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group of top rated US trial lawyers with multi-million dollar settlements and case verdicts.
Founder of the leading personal injury website: www.riccilawnc.com/Personal-Injury-Lawyer.