If you were recently the victim of violent crime in a public place, such as a mugging or battery, you may be wondering what your possible recourses are. It may be surprising to learn that, under some circumstances, you might be able to hold the owner of the property where the crime took place liable for your injuries – if their security measures do not meet the legal requirements.
The foreseeability of the crime matters
A court cannot hold a business owner liable for every random crime that someone commits on their property. In most cases, a premises liability suit against a property owner will fail if it is based on the occurrence of a crime on their premises committed by someone who wasn’t associated with the business at all.
However, sometimes courts will decide that a company should have been on alert for a crime and should have taken steps to prevent it. The failure to take precautions when a crime is foreseeable could give rise to a valid cause of action for premises liability.
Reasonable security measures
For example, if a business knows that there have been several occurrences of mugging in a particularly isolated and unlit stairwell or corner of their parking lot, they must take measures such as hiring more security, installing lights and cameras, or both. If they don’t, then they may be liable to victims of future muggings in that location.
Sometimes the perpetrator of a crime gets away, leaving the victim without the ability to recover compensation from them. In cases like these, sometimes holding a negligent property owner liable is the only way for the victim to get what they need in order to recover from their traumatic event.