The owner must keep people who are on the premises and its approaches safe from foreseeable harm. Approaches are things like the sidewalk, entry areas, and the building’s parking lot.
Elements of Negligent Security
We must prove all four of these factors to hold the office building owner liable for your losses:
- The owner of the office building owed the injured person (plaintiff) a duty of care. As long as the injured person is not a trespasser, the owner owes him a duty to provide adequate security. The building owner must protect the people who work in the office building, their tenants’ clients, visitors, vendors, and other people who are in the building legally.
- The defendant office building breached its duty. Tenants in the building reported thefts at night after regular business hours. Someone stole blank checks, computer equipment, petty cash, and other valuables from the offices after they shut down for the night. The burglaries happened in more than 20 different offices over the course of several months.
- Negligence of the office building owner caused the harm to the plaintiff. After the first theft, the building owner should have improved the building’s security by installing security cameras, hiring a security guard for the building, and checking the people who came into the building at night for stolen goods when they left. The owner should have warned all the tenants so that they could take security measures within their rented spaces. Instead, the owner took no such actions.
- Adequate security would have prevented the harm. A tenant was working late one night and got injured by a startled burglar. If the owner had increased the building’s security measures after the first burglary, the owner could have prevented the subsequent thefts and the attack. Warning tenants of the crime would have allowed the renters to install cameras inside their office suites, lock up valuable items at night, and be on the lookout for burglars.
When a property owner learns about foreseeable crime against people who are on the premises lawfully, the owner must provide adequate security. Failure to do so can result in the landowner being liable for the harm the negligent security causes.
Requirement of Foreseeability
If there had never been break-ins or burglaries in the office building and it was in an area with a low crime rate, the owner would have a lesser burden to provide security than a building located in a high-crime district or where there had been multiple thefts. Before the burglaries started, the owner only had a duty to provide the level of security that was appropriate under the circumstances. Once the crimes began, the owner must respond to the new situation.
An office building in one part of town might need a secured parking lot with a guard present at all times. The building might need security cameras continually monitoring and recording what happens both outside and inside the building.
In a different city, an office building might not need a guard or security cameras. Foreseeability of crime is a significant factor in determining whether the security of a building was adequate.
Preventability of the Crime
Property owners are not required to prevent all possible crime, because doing so is impossible. Crimes can and do happen in places that have high levels of security, like courthouses.
Landowners do have to take reasonable measures, like bright lighting, security cameras, locked doors, and other security devices appropriate to their situation, to prevent the foreseeable crimes.
You must have measurable harm to win a personal injury lawsuit for negligent security. Physical injury will satisfy this requirement. Let’s say that the person working late at the office merely startled the burglar, who ran away without causing harm to the worker. That situation would not constitute an injury claim because there was no physical harm.
Being scared is not sufficient in these cases. On the other hand, physical injury counts as quantifiable harm.
Examples of Inadequate Security at an Office Building
What constitutes negligent security will be different in every situation, depending on the facts. An office building owner might be liable for failing to:
- Increase the level of security measures after criminal acts.
- Warn tenants and other potential victims about foreseeable crimes.
- Keep windows, doors, gates, locks, alarm systems, and other devices in proper working order.
- Respond appropriately when crimes happen on the premises.
These are just a few examples of things that can lead to owner liability for negligent security.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Negligent Security Injury Claim
If you suffered an injury because of an office building owner failed to protect you from foreseeable harm, you might be eligible for compensation. If you are looking to sue an office building for negligent security, call S. Burke Law at (404) 842-7838 today to get started. You can get a free consultation with no obligation.