Filing a Lawsuit for Negligent Security in Washington
Our Seattle Negligent Security Lawyer Explains Possible Legal Options
The need for a negligent security lawsuit is more common than you might think. Criminal activity can harm anyone, no matter where they live or happen to be visiting. When criminal activity takes place, who is responsible for providing security? Businesses and other parties may be liable for damages caused by negligent security. This can include failing to utilize security equipment or staff members in an area with high crime rates or where violence is likely to occur. It may also be possible to file a lawsuit if the property owner or tenant failed to warn of the risk of being harmed on the property.
When visitors suffer harm due to a lack of necessary security, they or their family members may have options to pursue compensation. An experienced Seattle negligent security lawyer can help you make this determination. With his years of experience helping personal injury victims in Seattle in a variety of cases, attorney Zach Herschensohn can help individuals harmed by a lack of security.
What Is Negligent Security in Washington State?
Negligent security is a form of premises liability that handles the civil consequences of crimes and violent acts. It typically takes place when an individual has been injured by a third-party because the owner or occupant of the property where the crime took place had a lack of necessary security.
These cases might involve robbery, sexual assault, murder, or battery. An injured person may bring forward the lawsuit if he/she has reason to believe the duty imposed by the landowner or property occupant to offer reasonable security against third-party crimes was flawed or negligent. Family members may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one died due to negligent security.
In other words, the plaintiff believes his or her damages could have been avoided had the security system worked as it was intended and described.
These lawsuits can be brought against both commercial and residential landowners, tenants, or other third-party organizations. However, the setting may change the outcome. For example, a student may sue a college for failing to provide adequate dorm security and a retail business is often held responsible for ensuring the safety of the customers in its care, but it might be unfair to hold a tenant responsible for what happens in the parking lot.
You should contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your accident due to the possible complexity of your potential case.
Suing the Owner vs. Suing the Criminal
People often ask why a victim would sue the landowner or occupant instead of the person who committed the crime. Plaintiffs often explain that landowners and occupants are easier to identify and hold responsible.
In other cases, the criminal has already been held responsible in a court of law and may be unable to provide compensation if held responsible in civil court.
What Must Be Proven for a Washington Negligent Security Claim?
In order to successfully sue for negligent security, a plaintiff must prove the landowner or occupant failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing criminal activity and failed to give adequate warnings about the risk of suffering harm. The plaintiff will also need to show that he/she was lawfully present on the property at the time of the crime’s occurrence.
For example, an apartment complex is responsible for providing a certain level of protection for tenants, including bolted locks for their doors and locks for their windows. If a specific apartment is lacking these features and someone breaks in, the ensuing damage could be seen as negligent security.
But the case doesn’t stop there. The plaintiff must also show the injuries intended for compensation were sustained because the defendant breached its duty. Each injury must be directly connected to this negligence.
The case will ultimately depend on the expectations set upon the landowner or occupant by law and whether these expectations were reasonably met.
There’s also the matter of promised security, such as the heightened amount of security expected in a gated community. The landowner wasn’t required to supply this level of security, but each tenant can reasonably expect it because it was likely outlined in their contract.
Contact an Experienced Seattle Negligent Security Attorney for Representation
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligent security? It’s time to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced Seattle negligent security lawyer for assistance and representation at Herschensohn Law PLLC by calling (206) 588-4344.