Negligent Security Attorney in San Francisco711 Van Ness Ave, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94102
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Negligent Security Lawyers in San Francisco
When a property owner or occupant neglects their obligation to provide security to visitors at the property, they may be liable for negligent security. As a result, the negligent party will need to compensate the injured individual for their damages. The compensation mostly covers economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, etc. These damages are also commonly known as special damages. On the other hand, non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental distress, emotional suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages are also commonly referred to as general damages.
At Morgan & Morgan, our negligent security lawyers in San Francisco can help you recover damages if you or your loved one has been injured due to negligent security. To do this, we will need to review your case. This process helps determine whether you have a valid claim against the other party and how best to approach it.
Ready to find out whether you have a valid claim? Fill out our free case evaluation form today.
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Who Is Liable for Negligent Security?
Any person, business, or organization can be liable for negligent security if they neglect their legal responsibility of protecting people who visit their premises. Below are a few examples.
A landlord can be liable for negligent security if they fail to install security lights at their apartment complex, leading to robberies and other violent crimes. In addition, if tenants or visitors get injured due to the landlord's failure to provide security lights, they may have legal grounds to sue the landlord.
A business can be liable for negligent security if they fail to install security devices such as surveillance cameras or alarms, encouraging criminals to target the business. Individuals harmed as a result of negligent security by a business can sue the business for negligence.
How Do I Prove Negligent Security in San Francisco?
To prove negligent security in San Francisco, you must demonstrate five key elements as discussed below.
The first key element is to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. For example, if you are a tenant, your landlord owes you a duty of care up to a certain degree. For instance, your landlord is responsible for providing security lights at the apartments.
You must also demonstrate that the defendant breached the duty of care. In other words, you must show that the defendant was negligent.
Cause in Fact
Next, you must prove that the defendant's breach of duty is connected to the harm you suffered. In simpler terms, even though the defendant might have breached their duty of care, they may not be liable if you fail to connect the alleged negligence to your injuries.
As the name suggests, the term proximate cause means that the defendant's negligence was the likeliest cause of your injuries. For instance, if you suffered a black eye due to negligent security, you must prove that negligent security is the most likely cause of your black eye. To put things into perspective, your landlord will likely dispute your claim if there is any reason to believe that you got injured while fighting at a nightclub and not due to negligent security at the apartment complex.
Lastly, you must prove that the defendant's actions harmed you. Otherwise, without proving harm, you cannot recover damages.
What Damages Can I Recover From a Negligent Security Claim?
In San Francisco and throughout California, you have up to two years from the date of the negligent security incident to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. If you fail to take legal action within the two-year deadline, you will lose your right to take any legal action after that.
However, in very rare circumstances, the court might allow you to file a lawsuit outside this deadline. For this reason, it is always advisable to consult an experienced negligent security lawyer for a free case evaluation. The attorney can help you beat crucial deadlines if you have a valid case or understand your option if the deadline for filing a lawsuit has expired.
What Is Reasonable Security?
One of the things the judge or jury will look at when you file a negligent security lawsuit against the other party is whether the defendant provided reasonable security. When you file such a lawsuit, you seek compensation for damages caused by the defendant's failure to provide adequate or reasonable security. The phrase 'reasonable security' refers to the kind of security systems that any rational individual in similar circumstances would have provided.
The court is not asking the defendant to provide you with armed bodyguards every time you visit their premises. Instead, they will want to determine whether the security provided was enough to stop a preventable crime. Examples of reasonable security include security guards, surveillance cameras, adequate lighting, secure locks, alarm systems, etc.
In addition, whether or not the defendant provided reasonable security will depend on where the plaintiff got injured in the first place. For example, suppose robbers attacked the plaintiff at a poorly-lit gas station. In that case, the owner might be responsible for negligent security because any reasonable gas station owner would provide adequate lighting at such a business.
Another factor that will likely surface when determining reasonable security is the issue of foreseeability.
What Is Foreseeability in Negligent Security Cases?
In negligent security cases, foreseeability refers to a predictable activity. For example, say a gas station or apartment is located in a dangerous neighborhood. In that case, a robbery at the gas station or burglary at an apartment complex in the neighborhood is foreseeable.
In other words, it is possible to predict certain outcomes and prevent them before they occur.
Because a robbery at a gas station located in a crime hotspot is foreseeable, you expect the gas station owner to take the necessary steps to boost security.
How Is Foreseeability Determined in Negligent Security Cases?
The judge or jury will consider many factors when determining whether an incident was foreseeable. The most common factors include the following:
Whether the harm was imminent. In that case, the court will determine whether the defendant reacted to the harm.
Whether the area had prior incidents that should have alerted the defendant. If so, the court will determine whether the defendant did anything about the situation if they knew or should have known about it.
Lastly, the court will consider the totality of the circumstances. This includes but is not limited to prior security measures, the crime rates in the area, and the probability of criminal activity.
How Long Do Negligent Security Claims Take to Settle?
Negligent security claims could take a few months or even years to settle. This depends on the specifics of the case and whether the defendant is willing to cooperate.
In cases where the defendant is clearly at fault, chances are they will be willing to settle out of court. The greatest advantage of an out-of-court settlement is that it is much faster than court settlements. This is because courts usually have backlogs and complex processes both parties must follow. In addition, out-of-court settlements help both parties save on legal costs.
However, suppose the other party is unwilling to settle. In that case, your attorney might file a lawsuit against them, presenting the case in front of a judge. When that happens, the case could take years to settle. It could even take longer if you win and the other party files an appeal.
How Much Is My Negligent Security Claim Worth?
There is no average price for a negligent security claim. Your case could settle for a few thousand to billions of dollars. Consulting an experienced negligent security attorney is the best way to determine how much your case might be worth. The attorney will review the specifics of the case, including the injuries sustained, and estimate the kind of compensation you may be entitled to.
Generally, the following factors will determine the settlement amount in such a case:
- Whether you were partly at fault for the incident
- The steps you took after the incident
- The injuries you sustained due to the incident
- The number of parties at fault for the incident, among others.
What Happens if I Am Partly at Fault for the Negligent Security Incident?
Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, plaintiffs can recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault for an accident. But here's the catch: San Francisco and state insurance companies know about this rule. For this reason, they will try to push back as hard as possible, ensuring you receive the lowest compensation possible. This further explains the importance of having a negligent security lawyer fight for you.
What Are Some Possible Defenses to a Negligent Security Lawsuit?
When you file a negligent security lawsuit, the defendant will likely come up with various defenses to free themselves from liability or at least share the blame with you. Here are some common defenses to negligent security claims worth knowing about.
- The incident was not foreseeable
- The defendant took necessary measures to provide security
- The plaintiff had no legal right to be at the property
- The defendant did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care, therefore not responsible for their security
- The defendant knew about the risks but ignored them
- The defendant was not paying attention when they got injured
What Are Some Characteristics of a Competent Negligent Security Lawyer in San Francisco?
When looking for a competent negligent security attorney in San Francisco, here are some important characteristics to consider.
Experience: You need an attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases. While a general personal injury lawyer might be able to fight for you, hiring an attorney with experience handling negligent security cases is always advisable.
It is also important to consider an attorney who can fight for you zealously in court. This is crucial if the other party refuses to settle out of court or even cooperate with your attorney.
Track record: Consider an attorney or firm with a track record of winning such cases. If the lawyer has no results to prove their record, chances are they have not won any case. The last thing you want is to let an attorney use your case as an experiment.
Resources: Negligent security cases are complex. The defendant will likely hire defense attorneys to fight for them in and out of court. You will likely lose your case if your attorney lacks the legal resources to fight back.
Get the Compensation You Deserve for Negligent Security
If you or your loved one has been injured due to someone else's negligence, Morgan & Morgan negligent security attorneys can fight for you. We understand how painful it is to deal with expensive medical bills and other expenses from such incidents. For this reason, we will fight for you without any upfront payment; we only get paid if you win.
Ready to fight for the compensation you deserve? Contact us today for a free case evaluation.