Parking your car in a well-lit parking lot often feels like a routine and safe task. Most of the time, it is. But life is unpredictable, and unfortunate events can happen. Assaults in parking lots occur, and when they result in injuries, questions of liability arise. This is where negligent security comes into play. Is the property owner liable for the damages resulting from your injury? The answer lies in determining the duty of care and reasonable foreseeability.
Duty of care and reasonable foreseeability
Duty of care means property owners are legally responsible for keeping visitors safe. They must take sensible steps to prevent harm, like crimes, from happening on their property. Reasonable foreseeability is when they expect a situation that makes certain crimes possible to occur in a place within their property.
So, in negligent security cases, it is about figuring out if the property owner should have known that visitors could be at risk of harm from criminal activities. If the crime was reasonably foreseeable, the property owner should have taken steps to protect visitors from criminal acts by others. Otherwise, they might be held liable.
Who determines if an act is foreseeable?
In negligent security lawsuits, the court decides the question of legal duty, but it is up to the jury to decide whether a crime was reasonably foreseeable or not. The jury may consider various factual circumstances, such as:
- Previous crimes on or near the premises
- The proprietor’s knowledge
- The nature of the crimes
At the same time, the security measures’ reasonableness depends on finding a balance between how likely harm is and how severe it could be, compared to the cost and practicality of adding more security. It is the totality of circumstances that guides the decision. There are no rigid rules or specific types of evidence needed to establish reasonable foreseeability.
Holding responsible parties accountable
When assaults happen in parking lots, figuring out who is responsible can be overwhelming, especially when legal terms get involved. But with the proper legal support, you can feel empowered and supported in your pursuit of justice. Seeking damages for negligent security is not just about getting money. It is also about making sure that parking lots become safer for everyone.