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Negligent Security Lawyer in New York
In most cases, when a crime is committed against you, you can file criminal charges and civil charges against the perpetrator. It’s often very clear cut: someone harmed you, and you try to hold them accountable. Negligent security cases, however, are a bit different.
In these types of cases, there are third parties, in addition to the perpetrator, that may be legally responsible for the crime someone else committed, based on the third party’s failure to provide certain security measures on their property. If you were injured and believe someone in addition to the perpetrator may be at fault, you should contact a negligent security lawyer right away to discuss your options.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have been handling negligent security cases for decades and we will do everything in our power to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
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What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a type of premises liability claim. In these types of cases, the victim can sue not only the person who committed the crime but also the owner or manager of a property for their failure to provide reasonable precautions to keep the property safe. A victim may be able to hold them legally responsible if certain requirements are met.
For example, shopping malls and convenience stores are required to keep their parking lots and surrounding areas safe to try to avoid criminal acts from taking place against shoppers who are entering or leaving the store. This typically includes well-lit parking areas and functioning video recording devices, among other measures. The more light that is provided, the less likely it is that crime will take place on or around the store’s property. Recording devices can act as a deterrent as well. Additionally, if a crime does unfortunately occur, having a recording of it can help law enforcement identify the suspect and take appropriate action.
The type and extent of security required will also depend on other factors, such as the neighborhood, past crimes that have occurred on or near the property, whether the type of business is one likely to be targeted by criminals, and whether patrons of the business are likely to exhibit violent behavior, among others.
What Is The Deadline for Filing a Claim?
If you were the victim of a crime in New York and you believe you have a negligent security claim, you must initiate your lawsuit within a specified period of time. If you fail to meet this deadline, you will be barred from pursuing your claim, and therefore unable to recover the monetary compensation that you otherwise may have been entitled to.
In New York, negligent security claims must be filed within three years from the date that the incident occurred. Even if you had a strong, straightforward claim, if you miss this date, you will be out of luck.
Most people think that 3 years is a long time, so there’s no rush to file a negligent security claim. While this deadline does provide you with ample time to recover from the incident and decide what to do, it’s always better to initiate your claim as soon as possible. At the very least, you should always contact a negligent security lawyer to discuss your options as soon as you’re able. To have the strongest case, you and your attorney will need to present evidence that proves your claim, which often includes witness testimony and video footage. This type of evidence can disappear or be difficult to locate as time goes on.
How Do I Prove Negligent Security?
Proving negligent security can be complex, as you must prove that a third party is responsible for a crime that someone else committed. It takes sufficient evidence and certain skill from your attorney to do this effectively. To prove a negligent security claim, you must establish the following elements:
- Duty of Care. The first element that must be proven in a negligent security claim is that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care to keep them safe. For example, places such as supermarkets, convenience stores, nightclubs, shopping malls, restaurants, and apartment buildings must take certain precautions to keep all patrons, residents, or visitors safe. In general, property owners typically have a duty of care to keep safe anyone who has permission to be on their property. In some cases, this duty of care may be extended to individuals that are trespassing on the property if the owner is aware or should have been aware of the likelihood of trespassers.
- Breach of Duty and Foreseeability. Next, the victim must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. This is done by showing that proper safety precautions were not taken. For places like shopping malls, convenience stores, and restaurants, this can be established by showing that there was inadequate lighting in the parking lots and areas surrounding the property. The victim must also establish that the criminal act was foreseeable. This is most often done by showing that similar crimes have happened on or near the property in the past and that the crime that took place on the property was something that could be expected. For example, if you’re in a nightclub, it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone if a fight broke out outside of the establishment. It is reasonable to expect that a nightclub would have security guards inside the property, but outside as well to manage people entering and leaving.
- Injury & Damages. The plaintiff must also prove that they suffered damages as a result of their injury. This is typically done by showing that the victim incurred medical expenses, lost income because they were unable to work after the incident, or were suffering from physical and emotional pain.
- Causation. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the injury they suffered was a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. This can be difficult to prove, as there are likely many factors that play a role when a crime is committed. If a nightclub has two entrances/exits, with security guards and adequate lighting at one, and a lack of security guards and proper lighting at the other, it is much more likely that crime will occur at the unguarded entrance/exit. Showing that crimes have occurred more often near this area can help prove that the breach of duty—the failure to provide adequate security measures—was the cause of the injury.
How Much Does a Negligent Security Lawyer Cost?
Most negligent security lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that their payment is contingent on a successful outcome. If your lawyer is unable to recover any compensation for you, they don’t get paid either. This means you never have to pay your lawyer upfront. If your case is settled or won at trial, the lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation you are awarded. This is typically between 30 and 40 percent. While this might sound like a lot, it’s important to remember that there is no financial risk to you, and you otherwise might not recover any compensation at all.
What Are Examples of Negligent Security?
Two common examples of situations that might lead to a negligent security claim include the following:
- Apartment building break-ins.
If you live in an apartment building and were the victim of a crime, it’s possible that the complex could be held responsible. If there were locks that were broken or lost keys where locks were never rekeyed and this is how the criminal got into the building, there’s a good chance of a successful negligent security claim. The apartment building likely had a duty to keep the premises safe by ensuring that all locks work, that there is adequate lighting, and that residents are safe in their own apartments. If a common area key is lost, the lock should be rekeyed so there’s no chance of a stranger gaining access to the building.
- Shootings or other violence outside nightclubs.
Shootings or other acts of violence outside nightclubs are unfortunately common in many areas. If there is no outside security, a lack of adequate lighting, and no other safety precautions taken to prevent this from occurring, a negligent security claim could be possible. This is particularly true if this type of crime or something similar has occurred at this establishment in the past, or in the area surrounding the club. Nightclubs should always have security inside the club to prevent disagreements from being escalated and taken outside. Should this occur, having guards outside will help handle this situation without criminal acts occurring.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
If you believe you have a negligent security claim, it’s important to contact a negligent security lawyer right away. While you have what might seem like a long deadline to file your claim, the sooner you take action, the better. More evidence will be available, such as witness testimony that might not be as reliable further down the road, and video footage that may be deleted if you don’t obtain it right away.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have been handling negligent security claims for decades. As the largest personal injury firm in America, we have the resources needed to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. We will keep you updated on your case every step of the way and handle all the difficult legal work so you can focus on healing emotionally and physically.
Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.