No one can deny New York’s high crime rate. Almost every day, residents and visitors are seriously injured due to violent crime. Crimes such as theft, mugging, assault, and rape leave lasting scars on victims and often force them to contend with extensive medical bills. While the person who harmed you should definitely be held accountable in a New York criminal court, they may not have been the only person to blame.
If a property owner was aware that their property was unsafe – or reasonably should have been aware – and their negligence resulted in your injuries, then you may be able to file a negligent security claim against them. Property owners and business establishments have a duty to provide a safe environment for individuals on their premises, which includes adequate lighting, well-maintained locks, and security systems. Failure to provide these safety features can make a business owner liable for any injuries a guest, visitor, or tenant suffers, as well as all associated financial and emotional costs.
If you have been the victim of violence while on another person's property, you don’t have to suffer in silence. The perpetrator of the crime is certainly to blame, but the property owner may have failed to ensure your safety and should be held liable as well. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case in a free case evaluation. You may be eligible to file a negligent security claim.
Inadequate or negligent security falls under the category of premises liability law. The property owner of a home or any business, including rental properties, subways, motels, hotels, apartments, clubs, and shopping centers, is responsible for the safety of persons on the property and any events that occur on the property. Adequate security can include proper lighting, secure locks, and other necessary and reasonable safety features. When a property owner fails to provide a safe environment via these security features, they may be held accountable for the crimes that are committed on that property.
We have handled many types of premises liability cases, including those of victims who have been injured as a result of a business owner’s negligence in the area of security. We understand just how devastating these incidents can be, how hard it is to move on after suffering serious trauma, and the fear you may be dealing with.
When a property owner knowingly provides inadequate security, he or she is putting many people at risk, including employees, customers, and any other visitors on the property. Property owners are responsible for providing basic security features to prevent foreseeable criminal activity on their property. If a property is located in a high-crime neighborhood and this is common knowledge among property owners, then they should provide adequate safety measures to protect guests, visitors, and tenants.
Failures to provide proper security measures can result in:
- Sexual assault
But while victims of these crimes may be eligible to pursue compensation through the New York Office of Victim Services, they may also receive money from the property owner. To receive compensation from a negligent property owner, you must prove that the property owner failed to prevent the crime. Acts of negligent security can include:
- Failing to install proper locks on all doors and windows
- Failing to replace locks when a tenant moves out
- Improper lighting in stairwells, parking lots, parking garage, entranceways, alleyways, and other parts of the property
- Lack of security guards or properly trained guards
- Fake, broken, or lack of security cameras
- Holes in fences
If any of these factors allowed you to become injured in a violent crime, then you may be able to hold the property owner accountable for negligent security.
Although crime can occur just about anywhere, certain locations attract criminals intent on committing violence or theft against others. Owners of these locations know about the potential for criminal activity, so they are expected to act in a reasonable way to keep their guests, employees, customers, and students safe. These locations include:
- College campuses: In recent years, college campuses have been under increasing scrutiny for violent crimes, especially sexual assaults. The campus’s owners and managers are expected to keep students and staff safe while they are on the property. This includes having sufficient lighting in all areas of the campus (including parking lots and garages), cameras in public locations, and paid security guards to respond to emergencies and watch for suspicious activity.
- Shopping centers: When people gather, it creates a natural environment for thieves and other criminals. The owners of shopping centers and businesses need to ensure their employees and customers remain safe on the premises. Sufficient lighting in parking lots is essential, as are security features like strong locks and windows. Large malls and similar locations should have paid security guards to ensure additional safety.
- Schools: Schools, especially housing young children, should be the best-protected locations. They should include security guards and metal detectors, and require identification of all adults who are on campus or picking up children. In the classroom, teachers should be trained in basic first aid to help injured children and do their best to watch for theft among students.
- Hotels: Hotel guests can become a faceless tide of humanity that flows through the business. This makes for a great environment for criminals to prowl for victims. Hotels need extra security features like proper locks on doors, cameras in public areas, and lobby security when appropriate.
- Hospitals: People are at their most vulnerable in hospitals, which makes them prime targets. Hospitals need to ensure their patients remain safe from outsiders and from potentially dangerous staff members. Hospitals need to thoroughly examine their potential employees before hiring them, and security needs to monitor who enters and exits the hospital and patient rooms.
- Laundromats: Due to their late hours, laundromats can be more attractive for theft, violence, and sexual assault. These facilities must be well-lit and should provide security for employees and customers alike. This includes good visibility throughout the facility to people outside, as well as cameras inside to monitor activity while the business is open.
As a subset of premises liability, a negligent security claim is designed to make a victim whole after a serious injury caused by a negligent property owner. This means you may be able to recover compensation for all of your losses, which can include financial compensation as well as compensation for the personal suffering you have had to deal with. Altogether, a negligent security claim can recover compensation for:
- All medical expenses, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
In addition, if you lost a family member due to a crime, you may be able to hold the property owner accountable in a wrongful death claim, which can recover compensation for:
- Any remaining medical bills related to your loved one’s fatal injuries
- Loss of household income
- Pain and suffering prior to your loved one’s passing
- Loss of consortium, love, and care
- Funeral and burial expenses
If you or a loved one has been injured in a violent crime as a result of a negligent property owner, you have a case of negligent security and can pursue full compensation for your trauma. But these cases are complex and require in-depth investigations, which is why you should contact the NY premises liability attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. We have more than 50 years of experience recovering compensation for victims of violent crimes and can advocate for your best interests in an insurance negotiation or jury trial, if necessary. Please call our office at (212) 986-7353 to set up a free case evaluation to discuss your case.
The female plaintiff fell down a flight of stairs at work and suffered a brain herniation that compressed the brain stem, which she contended was due to delayed treatment at the hospital emergency room.
Bill Hepner recently settled a case against an architect and a homeowner for $3,625,000.00. The case against the architect involved malpractice in design, which occurred over ten years before the plaintiff's fall.
Kenneth Halperin obtained a settlement at a mediation in the amount of $2,650,000.00 for a 43 year old man who was injured in an accident involving his motorcycle.
Plaintiff was a corrections officer who sustained multiple injuries after a ceiling collapsed and fell on her.
Bryce Moses represented a woman in her 60's who upon returning home fell through the landing of the staircase leading up to her apartment.
WRSH Trial Counsel Robert J. Bellinson, recently won a Verdict resulting in a $1,750,000.00 recovery for our client who slipped and fell on an ice patch .
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin attorney Robert J. Bellinson recently obtained a $1.7 million verdict in Manhattan Supreme Court on behalf of our client who sustained a closed head injury.
Plaintiff, a 32-year-old account manager at a financial institution, was injured when the elevator he was in at work quickly dropped five floors and abruptly came to a stop.
William Hepner, Paula Greco
Kenneth J. Halperin recently obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for a thirty-nine (39) year old man who was injured while visiting the defendants' premises.
Nicole Gill obtained a $1.5 million settlement during jury selection on behalf of a client who was injured while on the defendants' premises to fix a security camera.
Nicole Gill, William Hepner
WRSH of counsel David Hoffman obtained a settlement in the amount of $1,475,000 for a 54-year-old woman who slipped and fell on an uneven portion of the sidewalk.
Frank Lombardo obtained $1.45 million for a client who sustained multiple injuries after slipping and falling in an icy parking lot.
The defendants only offered $750,000 to settle the case. However, after the mediation, negotiations continued and Brielle and partner Cliff Shapiro were able to ultimately settle the case for $1.45 million dollars.
Clifford Shapiro, Brielle Goldfaden
WRSH attorneys obtained a large settlement for a client who sustained injuries after a trip and fall caused by a defective raised cellar door on a sidewalk.
Clifford Shapiro, Eric Horn
We filed a suit against the building landlord for safety violations. After deliberating for half an hour, the jury awarded our client $1.3 million for past and future pain and suffering.
Kenneth J. Halperin obtained a $1.3 million dollar settlement for a security guard who tripped and fell over an elevator weight while performing his rounds at a large commercial building in downtown Manhattan.
Bill Hepner obtained a $1.2 million dollar settlement on behalf of a 52 year old man who was stuck in the head by the door when entering a bar.
Plaintiff sustained multiple injuries after a ceiling in an apartment collapsed and fell on him.
WRSH partner, Cliff Shapiro and Of Counsel, Brielle Goldfaden obtained a settlement for a 54-year-old nurse who tripped and fell on an uneven sidewalk in her neighborhood.
Clifford Shapiro, Brielle Goldfaden
Cliff Shapiro obtained a $1,050,000 recovery for our client, who was a truck driver making a concrete delivery when he fell on the defendant's property.
Clifford Shapiro, William Hepner