NYC Negligent Security Lawyers
Negligent Security Lawyers In New York City
Although the concept of “negligent security” may seem straightforward – holding someone responsible for providing inadequate security – negligent security cases can be intricate and nuanced in practice. These cases often involve complex relationships among defendants, requiring a thorough evaluation of various legal criteria on a case-by-case basis. Each case unfolds in its unique way, with no two being exactly alike.
Below, you will find an overview of the legal aspects pertaining to negligent security cases. If you have suffered an injury due to negligent security and would like to discuss the specifics of your situation, please reach out to our personal injury team right away. Our NYC negligent security lawyers possess extensive knowledge of the laws relating to negligent security and have a proven track record of success in personal injury cases. Give us a call today to set up your free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
Understanding Negligent Security Cases
Negligent security cases are categorized under premises liability, and the legal approach is similar to that of slip and fall accidents, store accidents, and defective stairs cases. Picture negligent security cases as a road with several gates. The plaintiff begins at one end of the road and must provide evidence to open each gate. Failing to establish the existence of each condition jeopardizes the progress of their lawsuit.
A negligent security lawsuit serves the purpose of compensating the plaintiff for the losses they have suffered. However, if the plaintiff was fortunate enough to escape unharmed from a criminal attack, there are no tangible losses to be recovered, and therefore, no grounds for a lawsuit. It is important to note that emotional distress alone does not provide a sufficient basis for a premises liability case.
Duty Toward the Plaintiff
Next, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Property owners are obligated to fulfill this duty towards anyone who has explicit or implicit permission to be on their premises, such as guests invited for a holiday celebration or customers at a retail store. Moreover, even trespassers may be entitled to this duty of care, provided that the property owner is aware of, or could reasonably predict their presence.
Additionally, a third party, such as a property management company or commercial tenant, may also bear a duty of care towards the injured individual. However, if the defendant is not the property owner, further evidence must be presented to establish the defendant’s level of responsibility in ensuring the plaintiff’s well-being.
Once the defendant’s duty towards the plaintiff has been established, the next crucial step is to demonstrate the foreseeability of a crime. This is typically achieved by presenting evidence of previous similar crimes that have occurred on the property or in the surrounding area.
Different states have varying requirements regarding the type of crime that can be used to establish foreseeability. Some states demand proof that the same type of crime has previously taken place in the vicinity. In such states, a recent series of muggings would not necessarily indicate the foreseeability of a sexual assault. However, in New York State, the plaintiff is not obligated to demonstrate a history of the same type of crime. Nonetheless, previous crimes must bear substantial similarity to the case at hand.
Once the plaintiff establishes that the defendant owed a duty of care and that the occurrence of a crime was reasonably foreseeable, the plaintiff must then demonstrate that the defendant negligently addressed security concerns.
Proving negligence can be challenging, as property owners are only expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent crimes. The interpretation of what constitutes “reasonable” precautions can vary. The adequacy of security measures must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the type of establishment and its specific criminal history, as well as the likelihood of danger.
For instance, if the owners of a popular and vibrant nightclub fail to employ a security guard, and a dispute between two patrons escalates into violence, the owners may be deemed negligent. Conversely, if a violent altercation occurs between parents at a reputable daycare center, it is unlikely that the proprietors will be found negligent for not hiring a security guard. Context plays a crucial role. Indications of inadequate security may include the following:
- Broken locks
- Damaged doors, fences, gates, etc. that allow an assailant to enter a property
- Poor lighting
- Lack of security cameras or security alarms
- Lack of security guards
- Inadequate security procedures or poor training in security practices
Negligence can also be established if previous security measures were discontinued. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where a hotel used to deploy security cameras in public areas and employed a guard to monitor the footage. However, in an attempt to cut costs, the hotel later disconnected the cameras and terminated the security guard. Unfortunately, shortly after these changes, a domestic assault takes place in the lobby causing serious harm to a woman. Although the front desk clerk witnesses the incident, the police are only notified when another guest enters the lobby and dials 911. In such a case, the hotel owners may be held responsible for inadequate security measures.
In New York State, determining liability is not a simple “either/or” decision. Instead, New York State follows the comparative negligence rule, which means that responsibility can be divided between the plaintiff and defendant, with a percentage of blame assigned to each party. Even if the plaintiff is found partially at fault, they can still recover a portion of the damages.
Unlike certain states, New York allows plaintiffs to seek compensation even if they are more than 50% liable for the accident. How does this work in practice? Let’s explore the following examples to gain a better understanding:
- Plaintiff is 10% liable/Defendant is 90% liable: Plaintiff receives 90% of the damages.
- Plaintiff is 50% liable/Defendant is 50% liable: Plaintiff receives 50% of the damages.
- Plaintiff is 90% liable/Defendant is 10% liable: Plaintiff receives 10% of the damages.
The plaintiff must establish that the property owner’s negligence directly contributed to their injuries. In other words, did the defendant’s negligence directly cause harm to the plaintiff? In New York State, the criteria for proving proximate cause are not clearly defined, and each case must be evaluated based on its own merits. However, there are some straightforward instances.
For instance, consider a scenario where a hospital negligently leaves a side door unlocked at all times without monitoring entrants. One night, an unauthorized woman sneaks in and harms an unconscious patient. In this case, the hospital’s lack of adequate security, such as leaving the entrance unlocked and unsecured, facilitated the woman’s unauthorized entry and subsequent harm to the patient.
On the other hand, let’s say the woman enters through the main entrance during the day, checks in as a visitor, and then proceeds to harm the patient. The hospital is still negligent for leaving the side door unsecured, but that negligence is not a part of the causal chain leading to the person’s death.
Contact Our NYC Negligent Security Lawyers Today
If you have been injured due to negligent security, you don’t have to navigate the complex legal system alone. The experienced and dedicated attorneys at Rosenberg & Rodriguez are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. We understand the challenges you may be facing and are committed to helping you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. We proudly serve the NYC boroughs of Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and all throughout New York State. Let our NYC negligent security lawyers fight for your rights and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.