Premises liability does cover assault in Los Angeles in some situations. Under premises liability law, property owners can face liability for injuries that occur on their property because of negligence. Most commonly, inadequate security measures can lead to premises liability for property owners when people suffer injuries from assault.
Property owners have a legal duty to keep guests and customers who enter the property reasonably safe from harm. If the property owners fail to exercise a reasonable degree of care for their guests’ safety, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries from assault and other types of incidents that cause injuries.
Where Premises Liability for Assault Can Occur
A premises liability claim is a type of personal injury claim that seeks to hold property owners responsible for their negligence when individuals suffer injuries on their property. One kind of premises liability claim may occur when customers or guests who are visiting a property suffer injuries from a physical or sexual assault. If a lack of adequate security led to the assault occurring, then the property owners could face liability.
In most cases, these assaults occur on commercial properties, such as hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, nursing homes, and parking garages. All these property owners operate businesses where people pay for specific services, whether it is an overnight stay in a hotel or a bed in a nursing home. When property owners fail to protect their customers or guests, they may be subject to premises liability for assaults in Los Angeles.
The Frequency of Assaults on Commercial Properties
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) does not routinely keep annual statistics on the frequency of assaults on commercial properties nationwide. However, in the National Crime Victimization Surveys that the agency completed from 2004 to 2008, almost 665,000 assaults, including physical and sexual assaults, on average, occurred at commercial places.
BJS defined commercial places as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, offices, banks, gas stations, factories, warehouses, or other commercial buildings. An additional roughly 188,000 assaults took place in commercial, apartment, or townhome parking lots or garages.
To make determining the frequency of assaults on commercial properties even more challenging, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that many victims of assaults do not report the crimes to police. For instance, in 2015, victims only reported simple assaults 41.7% of the time and aggravated assaults 61.9% of the time.
Victims only reported rapes and sexual assaults 32.5% of the time. As a practical matter, then, it is highly likely that many assaults on commercial properties go unreported altogether, which makes it more unlikely that the victims pursued any type of premises liability claims against the property owners.
Negligent Security and Premises Liability
Many personal injury claims rely on a legal theory of negligence. Likewise, many premises liability claims that result from assaults on commercial properties stem from negligent security by property owners. Although all commercial property owners have a legal duty to keep their customers and guests reasonably safe from harm, the extent of the security features necessary to keep them safe varies widely.
A negligent security claim may arise from the lack or malfunctioning of various common types of security measures. These measures may include security lighting in hallways and parking lots, the presence of security personnel, emergency call boxes, camera surveillance, and checking guests for dangerous weapons on the premises.
Another issue that often exists in negligent security claims is crime rates in the geographical area. For instance, a hotel in a high-crime urban area may necessitate more or heightened security measures than a hotel in a low-crime rural area.
Similarly, an exceptionally large commercial property may need more security than a very small commercial establishment. Some properties may need only a single security guard on duty, whereas some properties are so expansive that they may need multiple security guards. Security may only be necessary during nighttime hours on some properties, which tends to be when assaults are more likely to occur.
Seeking Compensation Based on Premises Liability
Compensation may be available for victims who have suffered injuries due to assaults that occurred on commercial properties such as hotels and bars. Although every claim is different, available compensation from property owners may include medical expenses, costs of mental health treatment, pain and suffering, lost income, and more.
If you can prove the property owner failed to maintain adequate security to protect you, you might have a premises liability claim.
When property owners fail to keep their customers safe based on what is a reasonable level of security under the circumstances, the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. Call (800) 223-5115 to schedule a free case evaluation and get more information about your legal rights after an assault on a commercial property.