California's premises liability laws give victims who were hurt on someone else's property as a result of the owner's negligence, legal recourse to seek compensation for injuries and other damages. These laws require commercial and residential landowners to take reasonable steps to maintain the safety of their property for patrons, tenants, and visitors. This includes implementing reasonable security measures to protect residents and guests from violent crime.
When a property owner knows of certain criminal conduct on or around the property then fails to take the appropriate security precautions to help reduce similar criminal conduct on the property, they may be held liable for injuries and other losses that result from the criminal conduct. If you were sexually harassed or assaulted on another person's property due to inadequate security, you may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you should know about a possible claim.
Inadequate Security Can Lead to Sexual Assault or Harassment Premises Liability Cases
Though sexual assault and harassment can happen in broad daylight and out in the open, many perpetrators look for locations where they can commit their crimes with little worry of being seen or caught. Unfortunately, poorly maintained commercial and multi-tenant residential properties with a lack of sufficient security often provide the right opportunities for criminal conduct.
Common examples of negligent security that can lead to incidents of third-party crimes, such as sexual assault, include:
- Insufficient indoor or outdoor lighting
- Missing or broken locks on doors or windows
- Broken security intercom
- Missing or malfunctioning security cameras
- Lack of regular security patrols
- Inadequate fencing
- Negligent hiring
Negligent security sexual assault victims can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate victims for financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate victims for intangible losses without a direct monetary value, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.
That's not all: In cases where the property owner's behavior was particularly loathsome, the court may award a third type of compensation, known as punitive damages. Rather than serving as compensation for a victim's economic or non-economic loss, punitive damages serve as a punishment for the defendant property owner for egregious behavior.
Proving a Negligent Security Claim
Proving damages in a negligent security claim can be complicated. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help. In order to collect compensation, you—and your attorney—must prove the following:
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to inform themselves of crime in the area, or failed to sufficiently warn visitors of potential danger
- That you were lawfully present on the property in question
- The property owner defendant breached their duty to provide reasonable security
- You were harmed as a result of a third-party criminal act that should have been reasonably foreseeable to the defendant
- You would not have been harmed were it not for the defendant's breach of duty
- You sustained actual physical or financial damages as a direct result
Filing a Negligent Security Lawsuit
Negligent security lawsuits are negligence and premises liability civil suits. The length of time you have to file an inadequate security premises liability claim is determined by the state's statutes of limitation. In California, you have just two years from the date of the harassment or assault to file a claim seeking compensation. Make sure not to miss this all-important filing deadline—if you do, your case can be automatically dismissed, meaning you've lost the legal right to pursue a financial recovery.
Even if you don't wait until the statute of limitation has expired, waiting too long to take legal action can have other negative effects on your claim. Evidence may be gone, missing or may be destroyed. Witnesses may forget what they saw, or move leaving no new contact information. Don't let this happen to you.
Let Our Experienced California Attorneys Handle Your Negligent Security Claim
At the Inland Empire Law Group, skilled personal injury attorneys understand just how traumatic it can be to be the victim of a serious crime. We're eager to put our legal know-how to work for you, and help you fight for the compensation you need to move forward. Want to learn more about how we can help you? Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.