Property owners have a duty to provide their tenants and guests with reasonably safe premises. However, some property owners provide little or no security at all. This is true even when they know that shootings, rapes, stabbings, and other violent crimes have been committed on or near the property. In some case, they don't warn tenants, guests, or customers of the dangers they know exist. Those guilty of providing negligent or inadequate security include:

  • Apartments complexes
  • Shopping centers and malls
  • Office Buildings
  • Hotels
  • Condominiums
  • Restaurants
  • Banks and ATM providers
  • Schools and universities 
  • Gas stations

Under premises liability law, a property owner or the party responsible for maintaining the property may be held legally responsible, or "liable", for the injuries of another if they were the result of a dangerous condition that existed on the property. At King & Markman, our attorneys are dedicated to representing individuals who have been injured due to a property owner's failure to provide reasonable security. If you, a family member, or someone you know has been seriously and/or permanently injured during a criminal attack, please contact King & Markman.

Don't Hesitate to Ask. Law is a Complicated Matter.

Let Us Help You! Call (407) 447-0848

Negligent Security FAQ

What is negligent security?

Negligent security is a type of premises liability claim in which a person injured by an attacker while on another person's property seeks recovery for his or her injuries from the property owner. Landlords, universities and colleges, commercial and residential property owners such as hotels, nightclubs, and malls, and others in possession or ownership of property may be found liable for negligent security.

What kinds of claims are negligent security claims?

Historically, negligent security claims were largely brought by people physically attacked while on another person's property, such as tenants of apartment buildings, students assaulted on campus, customers injured while shopping at a mall or workers injured by other co-workers, for example. Now, the theory of negligent security claims may be expanded to include victims of terrorist attacks, identity theft and other cyberspace crimes.

Can a landlord be held responsible if a tenant is attacked in his or her apartment?

Yes, depending on the circumstances. In most states, if the attack was foreseeable, landlords owe a duty to their tenants to take reasonable steps to protect against harm. Generally, a landlord's duty extends to the common areas, like parking facilities or shared hallways. If the attack happens within the tenant's dwelling, other factors may allow the landlord to be held responsible.

If a student is assaulted on campus, can the university be held liable for the attack?

Yes, depending on the circumstances. Many states have found that universities owe a duty to their students to protect them from foreseeable harm. If the university failed to take reasonable measures to protect its students, the university may have to compensate the student for his or her injury. The court will focus on where the attack took place and whether the attack was foreseeable.

What duty does a landlord have regarding securing his or her property?

Most states recognize that a landlord owes a duty to its tenants and visitors to take reasonable steps to protect against foreseeable dangers, such as criminal attacks. In some states, the duty to protect against foreseeable dangers is based on the state’s statutes.

What types of measures are considered "reasonable" to deter an attack?

In many states, the court will use a balancing test to determine what is a reasonable according to the facts of the specific case. The court will weigh the likelihood of an attack and the potential for harm against the burden imposed on the property owner to provide the protection. Reasonable protection may include something as minor as a security camera or fence or something as expensive as hiring a security contractor and providing on-site security guards. The determination of reasonableness will be made on a case-by-case basis by the jury.

What defenses are used by businesses to defend against negligent security claims?

Business may claim that no duty existed between them and the injured party, like if the injured person was a trespasser on the property. Businesses may claim that the injured party's own negligence led to the injury or that there were no reasonable measures available that could have prevented the criminal attack. They also may argue that the measures they took were reasonable and that the attack was not foreseeable. Available defenses vary by jurisdiction, so you will want to speak with an attorney for specific advice.

Is there a negligent security claim available in cases of identity theft?

There may be. In order to prove negligent security in cases of identity theft, it must be shown that the party storing your personal information owed you a duty to use reasonable measures to protect that information; the duty was breached; the breach caused you compensable harm; and if it weren't for the breach of duty, the harm would not have occurred.

If a co-worker attacks another co-worker at work, can the employer be held responsible for the attack?

Yes. Recovery against the employer may be limited by workers' compensation laws, but the employer can be held liable in cases of co-workers attacking other co-workers under a negligent security claim. Employers also have been held liable for attacks on visitors to the place of employment and domestic violence attacks on workers by spouses or significant others at work. Available claims can vary by jurisdiction, so it is best to consult an attorney about available claims.