When retail stores do not use reasonable care to maintain a safe environment for customers, they can become victims of crimes. Customers injured due to a criminal act, such as an assault or robbery at a retail store, may have a right to pursue compensation through a negligent security lawsuit.
Have your loved one been the victim of a robbery, assault, battery, or rape at a retail location? It’s essential you understand your legal rights. You may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the property owner or manager for failure to provide customers adequate security. The premises liability attorneys at Rochelle McCullough are prepared to advocate for your rights and pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes Negligent Security in Texas?
Property owners, including the owners of retail stores, have a legal duty to protect customers from foreseeable crimes. Generally, business owners aren’t required to protect customers from every type of criminal activity, especially when the customer is the victim of a targeted crime. However, when customers become injured in foreseeable crimes, they may have a right to hold the property owner accountable.
Succeeding in a negligent security claim requires the plaintiff to prove that the criminal act that caused her injuries was foreseeable by the business owner and resulted from a random act by a criminal. The victim must also prove that the retail store owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect customers from the known danger.
Examples of Negligent Security at Retail Locations
Property owners can be held responsible for customers’ injuries from an assault or attack on their property. Victims may be able to pursue compensation from all of the responsible parties. Examples of crimes commonly occurring due to a property owner’s negligence of security include armed robberies, assaults, mass shootings, sexual assaults, battery, and homicide. General examples of negligent security in retail locations that can result in criminal activity include the following:
- Inadequate or missing lighting in the store or parking lot
- Poor lighting in the stairwell
- Broken fences or gates
- A lack of security cameras
- Malfunctioning security camera equipment
- A lack of security guards
- Untrained and unqualified security guards
- A lack of alarm systems or functioning alarms
- Doors that cannot be locked
- A lack of training for employees about what steps to take in the event of a crime
Customers and Employees Can Be Injured or Killed in Business Crimes
Workplace violence is a leading cause of death and injuries to employees and customers.
A study of violent crimes in retail and service businesses found that customers were injured more frequently than employees during violent crimes in bars, convenience stores, restaurants, and motels. Employees were more likely to be injured in crimes committed in liquor or grocery stores. Customers have an increased risk of being injured during crimes that occur outside.
Robberies are the leading cause of homicides of employees and cause more than 60% of worker homicides yearly. Small retail locations such as grocery stores, liquor stores, and convenience stores have the highest risk of robbery and related homicide and assault. Service businesses such as bars, restaurants, and motels also have a high risk of homicides, assaults, and robberies.
Proving Liability in Business Crime Cases
Victims of crimes at retail locations must prove several elements to recover compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. Retail business owners have a legal duty to keep their customers and their property reasonably safe from crime and other dangerous conditions. When property owners take basic security measures seriously, they can often prevent foreseeable dangers like assault, attacks, and armed robbery.
Plaintiffs and premises liability lawsuits need to prove the property owner owes a duty of care. Property owners owe their customers a duty to keep the property reasonably safe. Plaintiffs also need to prove that the property owner’s negligent security caused the crime that resulted in their injuries.
The Injury Must Be Foreseeable
Prevailing in a lawsuit against store owners for negligent security requires a plaintiff to prove that the criminal action that caused their injuries was foreseeable. For example, if the retail store is located in an area with high crime, the crime may have been foreseeable. Suppose there have been several assaults and robberies near the retail location in recent months, and the property owner failed to take adequate security measures.
In that case, the plaintiff may be able to prove that the crime that caused his or her injuries was foreseeable. However, the plaintiff doesn’t necessarily need to prove that similar criminal activities have occurred on the property to be successful. If the property owner knew or should have known that criminal activity was foreseeable, the plaintiff may be able to recover compensation.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured By a Crime in a Retail Location
If you’ve been injured in a crime at a retail location, the steps you take afterward can help or hurt your claim for compensation. Immediately after the incident, you or someone else should contact 911 and ask for a law enforcement officer to come to the crime scene. Make sure you discuss everything that happened with the law enforcement officer and discuss your symptoms with a paramedic. Receiving medical attention immediately after the incident can help you prove the full extent of your injuries. You should also keep all documentation related to the incident.
Contact a Fort Worth Business Crime Lawyer
If you were your loved one has been victimized in a Dallas-Fort Worth retail location due to an assault, rape, battery, robbery, or other violent crime, it’s essential that you reach out to an attorney. Rochelle McCullough will work diligently to protect your rights and pursue the total and fair amount of compensation you need and deserve for your injuries. Whether you are pursuing an Insurance claim or a premises liability lawsuit, we will advocate for you every step of the way. Contact Rochelle McCullough to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you.