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Raleigh Negligent Security Lawyer

Negligent security is a reason to bring a premises liability claim against a property owner in Raleigh, North Carolina. Property owners have a duty to protect visitors from all types of hazards, including criminal activities. If you or a loved one recently suffered an assault, mugging, robbery, rape, or other criminal act while on someone else’s property, contact Riddle & Brantley. You may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

What Is Negligent Security?

Before a property owner welcomes visitors to a premises, the owner must make sure that the area is reasonably safe and free from hazards. While most people think about uneven sidewalks and slippery floors when they hear “property hazards,” negligent security is also a common danger. It is a landowner’s responsibility to check into the area’s criminal history for signs of foreseeable dangers. The owner must then take steps to reasonably prevent crime, such as:

  • Equipping building residents with safe doors, windows, and locks
  • Being careful about distributing spare or duplicate keys
  • Providing ample light in alleys and parking lots
  • Installing security features such as cameras and alarms
  • Placing signs in store windows such as, “$20 or less in register”
  • Using a drop safe in a store or business
  • Putting up a fence or security gate
  • Hiring security guards to monitor the area

The actions that are “reasonable” for an owner to take depend on the area and the situation. A property owner in charge of a restaurant in a high-crime neighborhood, for example, would have a greater burden to provide adequate security than someone who owns a business in a neighborhood with a very low crime rate. The courts will judge whether or not a defendant took adequate steps to try to prevent the crime based on the unique circumstances.

Do You Have a Negligent Security Case?

To prove that a property owner should pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress after a criminal attack, you will need the elements of a premises liability claim. Negligent security cases have the same elements as other premises liability claims. The only difference is that the property hazard in question is a foreseeable criminal attack. The four main elements you will need are as follows:

  1. The defendant was in charge of the property at the time of the attack. The person you are holding liable must be the party that owned, controlled, leased, or used the property during your incident.
  2. The defendant breached a duty of care to you. The breach of duty can be anything that a reasonable and prudent property owner would or would not have done to reasonably prevent the foreseeable crime.
  3. The breach was a significant factor in causing your incident. The owner’s negligent security and the criminal attack must have a direct connection. Otherwise, the owner might not be liable.

Get Legal Guidance for Your Negligent Security Claim

You must also show that you were not trespassing on the property at the time. Property owners in North Carolina do not owe trespassers any duties of care other than a duty not to intentionally cause them harm. The only exception is if the trespasser is a minor child under the age of 18. Bringing a claim against the property owner rather than the criminal is often the easier route if the police have not found the person who attacked you. Otherwise, you could be eligible to pursue both types of claims. Learn more about your case during a free evaluation with one of our Raleigh premises liability attorneys.