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Establishing Notice for an Inadequate Security Claim

Feb 12, 2021 - Personal Injury, Premises Liability by

Work With an Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney 

In Alabama, if you’ve been injured due to third-party criminal activity on another’s property (such as a retail store), then you can sue the property owner for damages based on an inadequate security claim.

Inadequate security claims are essentially a sub-category of premises liability claims.  Property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, and that responsibility extends to the provision of proper security.

A key issue in inadequate security claims is the element of “notice.”  Below, our Tuscaloosa injury attorney takes a closer look at how it works.

The Notice Element

Notably, a defendant cannot be held liable for providing inadequate security if they were not aware of the danger of third-party criminal activity.  However, it’s important to point out that a defendant’s ignorance of a danger does not let them escape liability.  If you can show that they “should have been aware” of the danger (i.e., that a person in their circumstances would reasonably foresee the dangerous occurrence), then you can impose liability.

The key to a successful claim is in showing that the defendant was put on notice as to the existence of the danger — here, the danger of third-party criminal activity.  If they were put on notice, then it was their responsibility to take steps to correct the danger (by hiring additional security guards, installing security cameras, installing more lights for nighttime visibility, putting up warning signs, etc.).

Whether a crime is “reasonably foreseeable” by the defendant is in many cases dependent on past events.

Prior Notice

The occurrence of a prior, similar event is powerful evidence to prove that the defendant was put on notice of possible future crimes — that the event you suffered was reasonably foreseeable.

This can be difficult to understand in theory, so let’s use a brief example to simplify.

Suppose you are injured during a mugging outside of a liquor store in the evening.  You investigate further and discover that there were three similar muggings over the past year in the parking lot outside the store.  The store owner was therefore aware of the danger of muggings in their parking lot.  The store owner could have installed additional lights to increase visibility in the parking lot at night or hire a security guard to help prevent muggings.

Under these circumstances, the prior events put the store owner on notice — and their failure to correct the issue potentially makes them liable.

Contact a Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney at Cross & Smith for Legal Assistance

Here at Cross & Smith, our team has decades of experience working on behalf of personal injury plaintiffs throughout the state of Alabama.  We have handled a wide range of disputes, including those that center around an inadequate security claim.  This has given us significant insight into the issues underlying such claims and how best to navigate the dispute to achieve a favorable result.

We pride ourselves on our “trial ready” approach.  From the very beginning of the case, we prepare for the possibility of trial litigation.  This gives us leverage during negotiations with the defendant — in many cases, we’re able to negotiate a settlement at an early stage.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney at Cross & Smith, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free consultation.  Call us at 877-791-0618 or send us a message online today.

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