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What Do You Need to Know About Negligent Security Cases?

Writing Notes

A negligent security case occurs when a person is sued for providing inadequate security. These types of cases fall under the theory of premises liability, where property owners and managers are required—by law—to ensure their premises are reasonably safe from foreseeable criminal acts.[1] To prove that there was a breach in duty through negligent security, you must prove: (1) that there was an injury; (2) that a defendant property owner or manager had a duty toward your safety; (3) that the injury was foreseeable; and (4) that there was a breach of duty through defendant’s negligence.[2]

If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you may be able to prove negligent security. The burden is on you to show that the area is host to a history of violence and continues to sustain violent crimes.

Common methods of proving violent history include:

  • Providing police reports from violent crimes enacted at the location.
  • Providing statements from people who witnessed violent crimes at the location.

Showing proof of previous lawsuits filed as a result of criminal activity at the location. The difficulty that many victims face is proving whether the crime they experienced was foreseeable. Foreseeability is most often established by showing that there is a history of similar crimes on the property or in the immediate vicinity. States vary in the type of crime that may be used to demonstrate foreseeability. Some states require the plaintiff to show that the same type of crime has been committed in that area. In these states, a recent string of muggings would not necessarily indicate that a sexual assault was foreseeable. New York State does not require the plaintiff to show that there is a history of the same type of crime. However, previous crimes do need to be substantially similar to the case at hand.

Evidence used to demonstrate foreseeability might include:

  • News reports of prior, similar crimes in the same location.
  • Police records show a history of dispatches to the property.
  • Testimony from the perpetrator says he chose the location based on some features of the property (dim lighting, broken fences, secluded area, etc.).
  • Testimony of the responding police officer saying the property is known as a dangerous one.

If you believe that you have enough evidence against a negligent property owner or manager due to inadequate security, contact KI Legal to discuss next steps for your personal injury claim.

[1] Westbrook v. WR Activities-Cabrera Markets, 5 A.D. 3d 69, 74 (1st Dep’t 2004).

[2] Matos v. Azure Holdings II, L.P., 181 A.D. 3d 406, 407 (1st Dep’t 2020).



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