No one should have to live in fear of becoming a victim of a violent crime. In private homes, many Americans install high tech security systems to keep their families safe. But not everyone owns their home where providing for their security is possible; many rent houses or apartments, or live where they must rely on a landlord to provide security. And even for those who keep their homes well-secured, what about when they are outside the home, for work, shopping, or recreation? They must then rely on the owners of those properties to maintain a safe environment.
The United States, unfortunately, has a high rate of violent crime, relative to the rest of the developed world. And of the 50 states, Texas ranked number 18 for the most violent crimes in 2014. Clearly our state has a security issue, with assault and battery, rape, gunshot injuries, abductions, and homicides depriving people of their human rights to life, health, and a peaceful existence.
Violent crime is a leading cause of injury and death in Texas and the nation. It is a cause of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, fractures, psychological trauma, and wrongful death. Although the perpetrator may sometimes be arrested and convicted of the crime, that does little to help the victim. Victims of crime and their families need to have the means to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on after losing a loved one in a homicide or suffering a catastrophic injury at the hands of a criminal. Many of these crimes and the damage they cause could and should be prevented by premises owners, operators, managers, or security contractors. Negligent security injuries occur when those responsible for the safety of the premises fail to live up to their responsibility toward those who are on the property legally, to prevent them from suffering any reasonably foreseeable harm.
Property Ownership Comes with Responsibility
Anyone who owns or leases a property owes a duty of care to those who are invited onto the premises to take reasonable precautions to keep them safe. Reasonable precautions might include:
- installing bright lights
- hiring an effective security contractor
- lighting, monitoring, and securing doors, windows, and stairwells
- using security cameras and closed circuit TV to monitor the premises
- installing attended entry gates
- keeping doors and windows locked
Similar to a slip and fall accident, another situation that may incur liability on the part of a property owner, an individual or family affected by a serious injury or death on someone else’s premise may be able to recover money in compensation for damages to their finances and quality of life.
Some examples of premises open to the public where crimes frequently occur include:
- Apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Hotels and motels
- Mobile home parks
- Shopping centers
- Big box stores
- Convenience stores
- Movie theaters
- Parking lots and garages
- Highway rest areas
- Public parks
- Storage facilities
- Theme parks
- ATM locations
If you have become a victim of a violent crime, you might be so traumatized and hurting that you are tempted to try to forget it ever happened. Or you may be so focused on the criminal that you haven’t given much thought to who else might be responsible. But with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney working on your behalf, you may be able to achieve some measure of justice and closure, and you may obtain the funds that will allow you to get the medical and psychological treatment that will enable you to move past the trauma and focus on your recovery.
What You Will Need to Prove
To succeed in recovering compensation for your damages in a negligent security legal action, you will need to prove several elements:
- That the owner, operator, lessee or manager, of the property owed you a duty of care;
- That you were legally on the premises;
- That a foreseeable danger of criminal activity existed in the area;
- That the owner, operator, lessee, or manager was negligent in securing the premises;
- That as a result of the negligence in security, you were injured or a family member was killed;
- That you suffered actual damages to your finances and/or quality of life as a direct result.
It is important that the attorney you choose not only has experience in handling negligent security cases successfully, but also has the resources and connections to bring on board expert witnesses to help prove your case, including public safety experts and criminologists.
It is also essential that you choose an attorney who is willing and able to take your case to a jury and has a record of bringing in successful verdicts for clients. Many negligent security cases can be settled out of court, but it is sometimes necessary to try a case to a jury in order to obtain a recovery that truly reflects the magnitude of your losses. Juries tend to be sympathetic to victims of violent crimes, and although every case is different, verdicts in the most serious cases can be in the millions of dollars.
Negligent Security Lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth
Aaron Herbert is a top-rated (AVVO 10/10) Dallas, Texas, attorney with a Board Certification as a Personal Injury Trial Lawyer and 50 jury verdicts under his belt. He has successfully resolved thousands of personal injury cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
If you have been harmed as a crime victim on someone else’s premises, call the Aaron Herbert law firm to arrange a free consultation with a committed Texas personal injury attorney who knows how to get results. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, because you will incur no attorney fees, court, or legal expenses unless you recover.