Santa Monica Negligent Security Lawyer

Santa Monica Negligent Security Attorney

In the state of California, business and property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their property is reasonably safe and secure. Among all of the duties of a property owner, maintaining safe and secure premises should be one of their top priorities. If property owners fail to fulfill this obligation, it could lead to a potential security claim. If you or a loved one find yourself in this situation, contact a reputable Santa Monica negligent security lawyer from McLachlan Law, APC.

What Is the Negligent Security Law in Santa Monica?

Under California state law, business or property owners are held responsible for ensuring the safety of individuals who are on the property owner’s premises, particularly if that property is open to the public. California civil code dictates that property owners are required to maintain a degree of safety and prevent injuries to visitors through acts of reasonable care and security of the property.

There is a certain level of safety and security that must be maintained on the property. If the owner does not have adequate security measures in place, such as door and window locks, security surveillance, security guards, etc., then the owner could be held liable for any damages that occur, whether they are personal injury or property damages.

Property owners can also be held liable for any potential criminal activity conducted by a third party on the premises. This type of premises liability can lead to a security negligence claim. A qualified and experienced liability attorney can help you determine if you will be able to file a potential negligent security claim.

Santa Monica Negligent Security Lawyer

Negligent Security Dangers

Numerous studies show that the knowledge that a property maintains adequate security, such as camera surveillance, can seriously deter criminals from committing unlawful acts on the property. Not only does adequate security deter criminals, but it also provides peace of mind for tenants, occupants, and guests on the premises.

There is always the risk of criminal activity occurring, but with the proper safety and surveillance measures in place, a business owner can significantly reduce the risks of crime.

Ultimately, each negligent security case will be handled on a case-by-case basis. There can be different interpretations of what constitutes reasonable care and adequate security. Each case can also vary by business type, business size, property location, surrounding locations, and other general risks associated with the property. Not all property owners are necessarily required to maintain the same level of safety and security.

Common Examples of Negligent Security

Some of the most common examples of negligent security as it relates to property owners include:

  • Missing or broken locks on doors and windows. Failing to secure the physical premises of the property can put the occupants and visitors at serious risk of robbery or burglary. Property owners have a duty and responsibility to give their occupants peace of mind in knowing that their possessions are securely locked away from the public.
  • Lack of or insufficient security surveillance such as cameras. Failure to monitor or maintain an adequate security system can lead to a lack of awareness of actions that happen on the property. It could also lessen the chance of recording evidence of any criminal activity that occurs.
  • Lack of or untrained security guards. Security guards who are untrained in properly locking and securing the building pose a large risk and put the whole property at risk of robbery or burglary.
  • Lack of secure access or entrance. Failure to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to certain areas of the property can lead to potential criminal activity.
  • Inadequate or insufficient lighting. This can include parking lots, building entrances, stairwells, and anywhere else on the property. Inadequate lighting can lead to an increased likelihood of criminal activity to occur.
  • Improper maintenance. Failure to ensure that safety equipment, security cameras, and general maintenance items are addressed can lead to equipment failure and malfunctions. This could create serious vulnerabilities in the property’s security system, putting all the occupants and visitors at risk.

The following criminal acts could occur as a result of any of the above negligent security actions:

  • Robbery
  • Harassment
  • Homicide
  • Sexual Assault
  • Abduction
  • Physical Assault

Specific Examples of Security Negligence

Some specific situations involving security negligence are outlined below. This can help those who believe they may have been involved in a potential negligence case gain a better understanding of when security negligence can apply.

  • A tenant of a storage facility was sexually assaulted and beaten on the property. The incident occurred in an area of the property that had inadequate lighting, the security cameras were not operable, the security gates were not working, and the onsite security guard was not out patrolling. This example involves multiple levels of negligence and would be a serious case of negligent security.
  • A commercial building in a high crime area does not arm its security guards. One of the tenants is physically attacked and robbed while walking from the building to the parking lot.
  • An apartment complex discovers that a tenant had criminal gang affiliations and was involved in several criminal activities. The apartment seeks no further action from the tenant. Another tenant of the apartment complex is hit with a stray bullet from the criminal gang-affiliated tenant.
  • A woman rejects the repeated sexual advances of a man in a restaurant. Restaurant security removed the man from the building, but he remained in the parking lot. Once the woman leaves to go to her car, she is sexually assaulted by the man.
  • A man is removed from a nightclub by the bouncer without proper cause. The man injures his leg and has to be taken to the hospital. This could be a case of improper training of security personnel.

Determining Negligent Liability

It should be understood that negligent liability cases are civil claims. The criminal who committed the unlawful actions is not the party who will be held financially responsible for repayment of personal injuries and personal property damage in regard to a negligent security case. The criminal may face charges, fines, or possible incarceration, which will be enforced by a judge in criminal court.

The party who is held liable in a negligent security case is the property owner responsible for maintaining the security of the property. As each case is different, it may require a different level of investigation and due diligence. Oftentimes, negligent security claims involve an investigation, in which it will be proven that the property owner failed to maintain their responsibility to maintain a safe and secure environment.

What Does a Negligent Security Investigation Entail?

The investigation can include:

  • Determining if the property owner had any knowledge or reason to believe that a potential crime was imminent or that an individual on the property was going to either be a victim of a crime or had intent to commit a crime. Whether they failed to provide an adequate warning or contact the proper authorities will also be investigated.
  • Examining the security systems that were in place at the time of the incident and determining if the security was adequately in place.
  • Researching if there were any other related crimes in the area that could lead the property owner to be aware of potential crimes and, therefore, know that proper security was necessary.
  • Determining if there were any other prior incidents that could have made the criminal act in question foreseeable and possibly preventable.

The final step in the investigation would be to determine the level of accountability on the part of the property owner based on the aforementioned investigation.

Types of Properties Susceptible to Negligent Security Claims

Regardless of the property type, size, purpose, and location, each property that is open to the public has a certain responsibility to do all it can to discourage criminal activity and to protect the individuals or businesses that enter the property. These properties can include:

  • Office buildings
  • Medical facilities
  • Apartment complexes
  • Schools and universities
  • Daycares
  • Stores and shopping centers
  • Restaurants and coffee shops
  • Clubs, bars, and entertainment buildings
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Government-owned properties

There are some instances in which the property owner will hire a property management company that is responsible for the management, security, and maintenance of the property. This is fairly common with commercial properties, and oftentimes, in the contract agreement, the property management company will assume liability as it relates to the safety and security of the property. An attorney experienced in negligent security cases can help determine liability in your case.

Possible Compensation

If you have been involved in a negligent security case, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. In this type of case, you can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. It often depends on the unique circumstances and details of the case, but you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Personal property damages
  • Carjacking
  • Personal injuries and related medical bills
  • Lost wages or earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral expenses
  • Wrongful death

How Much Is a Negligent Security Settlement in California?

There is no set limit or standard for the settlement amount in a potential negligent security case in Santa Monica. Negligent security case settlements can range from a couple of thousand dollars to potentially millions of dollars. The settlement amount depends on certain details and complexities specific to the case.

Some of the factors that could influence the settlement amount can include:

  • The incident that occurred. For example, a sexual assault or robbery would constitute a potentially higher settlement than that of a verbal assault. Each incident is important and should be treated with the utmost care and compassion, but the type and severity of the incident will play a large role in determining the settlement awarded.
  • The severity of the injuries and damages sustained. As is typical with most court cases, the more severe and devastating the injury was, the more likely that you will be awarded a higher settlement amount. The settlement amount is intended to cover your medical costs as well as compensate you for the damage that you have incurred. Therefore, the greater the injury, the greater the settlement in most cases.
  • The medical expenses related to the injuries sustained. The settlement amount should cover the medical expenses incurred. The negligent party will be held liable for the medical expenses incurred as a result of the injuries sustained from the incident.
  • The criminal history of the area. It is not uncommon for the judge to inquire about the history of the area or to ask if it is known to be a high-crime area. This can be an important factor in the case because it could lead to potential punitive damages.
    • For example, if a storage facility is located in a high-crime area, it has a security gate that does not work, and a tenant was robbed while on the property, a judge may punish the property owner with punitive damages for not fixing the gate. A judge often awards punitive damages as a way to punish the responsible party for their negligence and failure.
  • Whether or not the victim played any role in the incident. This is typically less common, but it is a factor to consider in situations such as negligent security.
    • A rare example of this could be when you are at a bar, and a man punches you, breaking your ribs. Instead of reporting the incident to security, you fight back and suffer a brain injury. You may be able to sue for security negligence, but it should be noted that the bar will most likely contend that they are not responsible for the brain injury suffered because you contributed to the fight after the first punch.

It is important to engage the assistance and acumen of an experienced liability attorney who is familiar with these types of cases. An attorney can review the specifics of your case and develop a proper plan and strategy to help you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Negligent Security in California?

The statute of limitations for negligent security cases can vary by state. California state law views negligent security cases in the same light as personal injury cases. Therefore, negligent security claims are often considered personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for incidents involving negligent security is two years from the date the incident occurred. This means that if you suffered injury or damages from a case of negligent security in the state of California, you have

two years from the date of that incident to file a claim. Once the two years have passed, you no longer have the legal right to sue the responsible party. It is important to consult with a qualified injury attorney to ensure that you take action within the necessary time frame allowed under California law.

It is possible, however, to file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has passed, but the claim is almost certain to fail because the defendant’s number one defense will be that the statute of limitations has passed. There will be minimal pressure on the defendant to settle, and the court will most likely side with the defense’s argument that the statute of limitations has passed. It is vitally important that you file your claim on time.

Act Fast

It is also important to act fast in potential negligent security cases, as evidence can disappear fast. It is not uncommon for evidence to be lost or forgotten in these cases. Witnesses can forget or become coerced, physical evidence can be moved or fixed, and businesses can work to erase evidence. A personal injury attorney can help preserve the evidence necessary by obtaining witness statements and official records. It’s important to engage a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

Overall Basis for Negligent Security Cases

In short, there are four main parts to a negligent security case:

  • The property owner owes you a duty of care while you are on the property.
  • The duty of care was not upheld by the property owner.
  • Injuries were suffered by you or someone you know as a result of the duty of care violation.
  • The injuries sustained entitle you or those you know to compensation for damages.

McLachlan Law, APC: A Law Firm You Can Trust

Whether it results in severe injuries or death, inadequate security can be a serious problem and can have an enormous impact on the victims involved. This stressful situation can feel overwhelming, but it is important to seek the proper guidance for understanding your options. In any cases that involve negligence, it is crucial to receive help from a qualified and experienced liability lawyer.

The legal team at McLachlan Law, APC, has over twenty-five years of experience in successfully defending clients in civil litigation. Our firm has confidence in our ability to successfully handle cases of all types of complexity in federal and state courts in Santa Monica and across the state of California.

From personal injury cases to class actions, our legal team is well-versed in appropriately navigating the legal system to ensure our clients see a fair and equitable trial. Contact our office to see how McLachlan Law, APC, may help you.

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