POTENTIAL LEGAL ISSUES
Crime happens everywhere - no one is immune. The fact is though, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. Visitors to businesses, condo and apartment buildings and gated communities can potentially file a law suit if an incident occurs and they perceive a failure to provide adequate security. Inadequate security can mean anything from a lack of security guards, too few guards, no security system in place or even the wrong type of security.
In today’s society, security is no longer an amenity, but rather a legal necessity for both business owners and home owners’ associations. It is the responsibility of those who manage or take responsibility for a property or development to exercise a duty of reasonable care in the management of the premises to avoid the dreaded and costly law suit.
Recent law suits have resulted in substantial awards to plaintiffs where inadequate security was the cause of an injury suffered. Jury awards have often been in excess of $1million and settlements not a lot less. Then there are the attorney’s fees for defending such cases which do not come cheap! Don't forget about the increased insurance premiums that will follow once a claim has been made.
In order for a crime of opportunity (as opposed to a pre-meditated crime) to take place all you need is a willing criminal coupled with a lack of security in place. The law is quite straightforward in this area although interpretation has spawned a lot of litigation. In any such claim, the plaintiff has to show he was an invitee (someone who was invited to enter or remain on a piece of land as a member of the public) and that the crime against the plaintiff was foreseeable.
The key is foreseeability. Is the area a high crime area; what steps have been taken as a result; did the owners or HOA carry out a security risk assessment; were security arrangements discussed and documented. If none or only some of these areas were dealt with, how can this be justified. Was the local level of crime in the area considered; what was the situation in similar businesses or nearby communities; was the lighting, or lack of, a feature. Courts have to consider all such matters.
Providing unarmed security guards as the first line of defense ensures a very real physical deterrent for any potential situations and certainly shows that security is taken seriously by those responsible. This can end up saving a business owner or HOA substantial sums of money by avoiding unnecessary law suits and associated increased costs.
Contact Royal Protection & Security today at 407.382.0700 for further information on potential legal issues that could affect you down the line.