One common type of premises liability case is when someone is injured by the intentional criminal acts of a third party, while on someone else’s property. Most of the time, the landlord isn’t the one responsible for protecting individuals from third party criminal acts that occur on their property, unless there is a special relationship. An owner of a commercial property isn’t obligated to protect customers who enter the space, and isn’t responsible for protecting against unforeseeable criminal acts. If you were on someone else’s property and was injured by a criminal attack committed by a third party, get in touch with the lawyers at Dankser & Aspromonte Associates in New York, NY today.
If certain criminal activities by third parties is foreseeable, it is required in most states that the business owner exercises reasonable care to keep entrants from being attacked. The foreseeability of an incident is determined by whether similar criminal acts have been committed on the property in the past. The crimes must have been committed on the property on within the immediate area. The crime doesn’t have to be identical to the one at at hand, but it has to be very similar for the property owner to be aware of a certain threat. It’s easier to prove a criminal act foreseeable if similar acts were committed within a short time frame. If the criminal act doesn’t have similar crimes or had very few similar crimes committed over a long period of time, then it’s likely not foreseeable.
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The foreseeability rule isn’t compliant in all states. Some states have it so that business owners aren’t at duty to foresee criminal attacks at all. The property owner only has a duty to respond to the situation on their property that a reasonable individual would see as a risk of imminent harm to an invitee. In states that don’t use the foreseeability rule, the business owner isn’t responsible for protecting invitees from third party crimes unless he or she knew that criminal attacks are happening or will happen on the property, that could cause imminent probable harm to an invitee.
The states that approach these situations with totality of circumstances, the foreseeability is proven by looking at a variety of factors of past incidents, such as the condition, nature and location of the property and the prior experience of the property owner.
In general, a landowner isn’t responsible for protecting individuals from injuries that are caused by third party dangerous or criminal acts. There is actually an exception to the general rule when the property owner and the injured individual have a special relationship. A special relationship would include carrier-passenger, business invitor-invitee, innkeeper-guest and voluntary custodian-protectee.
In cases of negligent security, the plaintiff has to allege two things: the negligence on part of the property occupier or owner and the third party intentionally injuring the plaintiff. There are different types of negligent security cases, such as those involving insufficient security, not enough lighting, insufficient security procedures and measures, not enough control over keys (for hotels and multi-family units) and insufficient supervision. If the owner of the property or business voluntarily takes responsibility for protecting entrants by hiring security guards, then he or she has to act with due care.
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Criminal attacks by third parties can happen anywhere. It can happen in a mall parking lot, shopping center, or at a bar or sporting event. If you or someone you know has been injured by a criminal assault by a third party, while on someone else’s property, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates in New York, NY for a consultation.