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Is a business responsible for crimes that occur on their property?

| Jun 2, 2021 | Criminal Law

Businesses have risks that come from many different sources. They could face lawsuits if they produce a defective product that hurts someone or if one of their employees sexually harasses another worker.

Sometimes, claims don’t come from clients or workers but rather from people who visit their business. Premises liability is the technical term that describes the risk a company has when people enter their store or office.

For most people, premises liability is synonymous with slip-and-fall claims. Someone hurt due to negligent maintenance or cleaning at a store could easily make the claim that the business is responsible for their injuries. Is the same true when someone becomes a victim of crime on a business’s property?

Was the criminal event reasonably foreseeable?

Reasonable foreseeability is part of the standard for determining whether a business has some responsibility for a crime that occurred on their property. If there had been previous issues in the past, that could very well mean that the business should have known the same thing could happen again in the future.

Even if there hasn’t been a similar situation at the same property, criminal activity nearby could affect how foreseeable the crime you suffered was. Additionally, the condition of the property and the efforts the business owner or property manager makes for security measures will matter.

Did they install cameras, motion-activated parking lot floodlights and coded entry systems, or did they leave dark, unmonitored spaces where visitors, customers or even employees could become targets? If the obvious answer is that the business did not take the necessary steps to prevent predictable crimes from occurring, they may have some liability for the losses people suffer.

Inadequate security can lead to life-altering damages

Criminal activity can harm people in many ways. Some assaults or robberies might result in physical injury. The loss or destruction of property could have long-term financial consequences. There’s also the emotional trauma that results from crime to consider.

If your situation would have been different with better security, proper lighting or security cameras to deter an opportunistic criminal, you may be in a position to take legal action through a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses.

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