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Negligent security vs. premises liability: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Suffering an injury on someone else’s property can be a traumatic and confusing experience. It can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Adding to that confusion is determining which legal concept might apply to your injury – negligent security or premises liability.

While a personal injury victim can pursue liability claims, these are two distinct legal concepts. A victim will need to meet different standards of proof for each. It is also possible that one claim may be more appropriate than the other. It all depends on the specific facts of the case.

Negligent security

Negligent security refers to situations where property owners fail to take reasonable measures to protect people on their property from foreseeable harm. Examples can include failing to provide adequate lighting, not properly securing entrances and exits, or not hiring enough security personnel.

Negligent security cases usually involve criminal activity like assault, robbery, or sexual assault. They focus on whether the property owner could have reasonably foreseen and taken steps to prevent the danger.

Premises liability

On the other hand, premises liability is a broader concept that covers a wider range of accidents and injuries that occur on someone else’s property. It refers to situations where a property owner is responsible for maintaining a safe environment and protecting people from hazards.

Premises liability cases can include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, or injuries from defective equipment. The focus here is whether the property owner was aware of the hazard or should have been aware of it and taken steps to fix it.

Differences in legal implications

The differences between the two can have different legal implications for personal injury victims:

Negligent Security:

  • Requires proof that the property owner knew or should have known about the risk of criminal activity on the property
  • Focuses on whether the property owner took reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm
  • Can involve third-party criminal acts
  • Often requires expert testimony to establish the standard of care and breach of that standard

Premises Liability:

  • Can be based on either an act or omission by the property owner
  • Focuses on whether the property owner was aware of the hazard or should have been aware of it
  • Covers a broader range of hazards and accidents than negligent security
  • Can involve disputes over the victim’s comparative negligence

While negligent security and premises liability deal with injuries on someone else’s property, they are two different legal concepts. Knowing the difference between the two concepts can help determine which applies to your situation when pursuing legal action.