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Foreseeability in Negligent Security Cases

Lawsuits filed against businesses by individuals who were assaulted by a third-party on the business’s premises are commonly known as “negligent security” cases.

Based on the notion of “negligent security,” those who oversee a premise have a duty to protect patrons from criminal attacks, provided that such an attack was “reasonably foreseeable.” If an establishment is lacking in security measures, for example, it may be held legally liable if a patron is a victim of violent crime; this, of course, depends on a range of factors. Particularly, whether a crime – or the risk of one – was “reasonably foreseeable” is essential to determine whether the business/property was responsible for the victim’s injuries.

To establish that a crime was “foreseeable,” it must be proven that the business was, or should have been, aware of the likelihood of the crime; this is known as “constructive knowledge” or “constructive notice.” Evidence of similar crimes in the past can be crucial, as well as the lapse in time and geographic proximity of those past crimes to the current one.

There is certainly some debate regarding the similarity of past crimes and its relevance to the crime at hand; for example, some courts have ruled that prior incidents of theft or vandalism in or around an establishment do not necessarily justify foreseeability of violent crime, such as assault or robbery. Some narrow definitions of “similarity” of crimes, though justified, have made it more difficult for plaintiffs to prove the defendant’s constructive notice. Generally, such definitions can vary slightly by state.

The ultimate factor in a negligent security case is an establishment’s reasonable foreseeability of crime by a third-party on its premises and whether its negligence contributed to the crime and any resulting injuries.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of violent crime at an establishment due to its own negligence, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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