Negligent security lawsuits are a part of Maryland’s premises liability tort scheme. Under Maryland law, property owners have a duty to ensure that people on their premises are not the victims of foreseeable crimes. When a property owner fails to provide adequate protections and a crime results, he or she may be liable.
Property owners have an increased duty of care when they open their premises to the public for business. This makes sense because when people come to public places, they expect a higher level of safety and security.Proving a Negligent Security Case in Maryland
To have a failure to provide adequate protection case, a plaintiff must prove that the property owner owed them a certain duty of care, that this duty of care was negligently breached, and that this breach was a contributing factor to their harm. As these cases often deal with criminal acts, the negligence of the property owner does not have to be the primary cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Rather, the plaintiff only has to prove that the owner’s failure to meet the duty of care was one element that increased the likelihood of danger or harm.
Security usually involve a building or space open to the public and a security problem that the owner could have avoided. These cases often take place at:
- College campuses
- Parking lots
- Shopping malls
- Bars and restaurants
- Nursing homes and hospitals
- ATM kiosks
Failure to avoid foreseeable harm is negligence on the part of the property owner. Negligent acts can include:
- Failure to background check employees for criminal records
- Negligent sale of alcohol
- Inadequate lighting
- Failure to limit access to the premises
- Failure to section off dangerous parts of a building
- Failure to warn of the property's dangers
- Inadequate or undertrained staff
- Lack of surveillance
Sometimes a successful breached security case will involve a property owner who had previous warnings about the potential for danger on their premises. For instance, if 10 mall shoppers had been mugged in the parking lot in the previous 30 days, the property owners would be on notice that it is likely that there will be an eleventh victim. If no steps are taken to decrease the likelihood of future violence and another person is victimized, the mall owners will probably be liable for negligent security.
This is not to say that a y claim will not be successful unless there have been previous instances of crime. For example, if a college with no record of campus violence fails to background check its employees and a campus security guard with a history of violence assaults a student, it is likely that the college will be liable for damages because it did not take reasonable steps to ensure the security of its students.
Perhaps the only thing worse than serious physical injury or being the victim of a criminal act is knowing that your situation could have been avoided. This is why negligent security lawsuits are so important: they are meant to compensate victims who should have never been victims.
We handle premises liability cases throughout Maryland. If you want to get more information on your claim, call our lawyers at 1-800-553-8082 or get a free Internet consultation.