It’s an unquestioned assumption in our world today that crime can happen anywhere to anyone. As a result, there’s a perception that victims of criminal attacks and sexual assault were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Consequently, when people fall victim to a criminal attack in a parking lot or parking garage, on a BART or Caltrans platform, or inside an office building, they don’t always stop to ask themselves whether there was a lack of adequate security at the time. While no business, government agency or building manager can be expected to completely eradicate all criminal activity on their premises, they do have a duty of care to take steps to minimize security threats.
Inadequate Security and Premises Liability
Law enforcement professionals and plain common horse sense tells us that certain conditions are attractive to criminals. Darkened parking garages, remote stairwells and an absence of security cameras or security guards are likely to attract criminals intent on mugging or assaulting someone. Areas adjacent to high-crime neighborhoods, highways or vacant property can also attract certain kinds of criminal activity. When building managers, retailers or parking garage owners don’t install security measures to protect their patrons, they’re ignoring dangers and foreseeable risks.
Liability and the Issue of Foreseeability
While it may not be possible to completely prevent crime, if there are certain dangers or risks present that a retailer or property manager should have foreseen as contributing to crime, failure to take steps to remove or minimize those risks may constitute negligence.
For example, customers leave shopping malls and retail stores with items they’ve just purchased, some of them quite expensive. Store owners and property managers should recognize the increased risks patrons face when headed to their cars with shopping bags or electronics equipment. While it’s likely that malls and retailers have cameras and security guards inside stores to protect themselves against theft, they should foresee the existence of a similar threat in their parking lot or garage. Failure to provide cameras, proper lighting or security in the parking lot may be a violation of a duty of care businesses have toward patrons.
Have You Been Injured in a Criminal Assault? Contact Weber & Nierenberg
Even if you’ve been assaulted in your apartment building or place of work, there may be grounds for holding your building manager or employer liable for what happened. At the San Francisco personal injury law office of Weber & Nierenberg, our premises liability attorneys can evaluate your case and determine if you have grounds for legal action. It’s also important to remember that while your physical injuries may heal, there may be emotional and psychological scars that affect your quality of life and ability to function in the world. Working with psychologists and other experts, our personal injury attorneys demand compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
To schedule an appointment and discuss your case, contact San Francisco premises liability lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg today.