Victims of violent crime that occurs at a business, shopping center, apartment complex or any other type of commercial property, have the right in Minnesota to bring a lawsuit against the property owner for failing to provide adequate security. These lawsuits are commonly referred to as negligent security cases.
Minnesota allows plaintiffs in successful negligent security case to get financial compensation. On this page, our injury lawyers look at Minnesota negligent security cases and how to get compensation for personal injuries or death. We will also look at the potential settlement value of inadequate security lawsuits in Minnesota by summarizing recent reported settlements and verdicts in prior cases.
When Can You File a Negligent Security Lawsuit in Minnesota
All property owners and businesses in Minnesota have a legal duty to protect customers, tenants, or visitors on their property from violent crime. This requires property owners to install and maintain reasonable security measures to prevent violence and crime. What qualifies as “reasonable security” depends on the circumstances, but it can include things such as gated access, video monitoring, lighting, or onsite security. The level of security that is required will vary depending on what type of property or business is involved.
If a business or property owner neglects their duty to provide adequate security on the premises, and a visitor to the property becomes the victim of violence, that victim (or their family) can bring a negligent security lawsuit (also known as an inadequate security lawsuit). Negligent security cases are just like other negligence or personal injury cases.
Anyone business or property owner can be sued for inadequate security if they fail to ensure reasonable security and a visitor becomes the victim of violence. Below is a hypothetical example to help illustrate how negligent security lawsuits work.
Let’s say Twin City Management manages a large apartment complex in Minneapolis (in a high crime area). Twin City Management has received many complaints about tenants being robbed and assaulted in the parking lots and common areas. The common areas on the complex are poorly lit and there is no video surveillance system and no security guards. Rachel, a female tenant at the complex, is sexually assaulted in the parking lot outside of her building. Rachel can sued Twin City Management for negligent security because better lighting, video cameras, and/or security guards could have prevented the assault from happening.
Who Can You Sue for Negligent Security in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, any property owner, management company, retail business, or entity with legal responsibility for a property can be sued for inadequate security. Certain types of businesses and property owners, however, make the best defendants in negligent security lawsuits for various reasons. Below is a list of common negligent security lawsuits defendants.
Apartment Complexes: Apartment complexes are one most common defendants in Minnesota negligent security cases. There are 2 main reasons for this. First, apartment complexes are expected to provide a very high level of security compared to other types of businesses such as retail stores. This makes proving negligence easier. Apartment management companies have a duty to provide gated access to common areas, video surveillance systems (that actually work), adequate lighting, working lock systems, and even 24-hour security guards. Second, apartment complexes in certain areas tend to be hotspots for violent crime.
Shopping Centers / Retailers: Retail shopping centers, such as malls, or outdoor retail plazas, and the individual retail stores within them have a legal duty to ensure that customers are safe on the premises, which requires them to provide reasonably adequate security measures. Adequate security for a shopping center generally means proper lighting for parking and other areas, video surveillance, and possibly security guards or limited access parking.
Hotels: Hotels or motels have a legal obligation to provide security for their guests. This obligation is very high, and it is comparable to the security obligation at an apartment complex. It typically requires lighting, video monitoring, 24-hour staffing, keyed access, etc.
Bars / Nightclubs: Nightclubs and bars where alcohol is consumed by customers have an obligation to protect patrons from violence, including drunken brawls between patrons at the bar.
Hospitals: Hospitals need to ensure that patients and other visitors are reasonably protected from violence both inside the hospital and in common areas such as parking lots and pickup areas.
Schools: Schools in Minnesota have a legal duty to keep students safe from violence, both from other students and non-students and staff. This duty is very circumstance specific, but it may require security screening, responding to credible threats, and possibly hiring school security.
Types of Negligent Security Lawsuits in Minnesota
Many different types or categories of inadequate security claims are recognized under Minnesota law. Below is a list of the most common types of negligent security claims that we see in Minnesota.
Inadequate Locks: Having a secure, functioning lock or access system is a critical security measure. Residential complexes and hotels, for instance, should have gated access (whenever possible), and working lock systems to access common areas such as parking lots, pools, recreation centers, etc.
Inadequate Lighting: In may seem simple, but making sure a property is well lit a night is a critical security feature. Adequate lighting deters crime. This is a frequent claim in negligent security cases because property owners and business often neglect to maintain lighting systems in outdoor areas, such as parking lots. The plaintiff simply needs to show that the poor lighting facilitated the violent crime.
Lack of Video Surveillance: certain types of properties, such a hotels, apartment complexes, or shopping centers, have an obligation to ensure that guests are safe by having a functioning video surveillance system. Video surveillance deters criminal activity and enables help to be dispatched when events do occur.
Lack of Security Staff: In certain circumstances, a property owner or business owner may have an obligation to hire onsite security guards to help protect patrons and visitors from violence. Failure to provide security staff can be the basis for a negligent security claim.
Apartment / Hotel Security: Apartment complexes and hotels are obligated to provide a higher level of security to residents and guests. Residential properties such as apartments and hotels should, at a minimum, have functional secured access systems, adequate lighting outside, video monitoring systems, and 24-hour onsite personnel. If tenants or guests become victims of crime due to a to provide these security measures, they can sue the property management company for negligent security.
Settlement Value of Minnesota Negligent Security Lawsuits
Negligent security lawsuits in Minnesota have a relatively high average settlement value compared to other types of personal injury cases. This is particularly true in the more urban areas around Minneapolis. Below are summaries of some verdicts and settlements from recent negligent security lawsuits across the country. There were not enough reported settlements or verdicts in negligent security cases from Minnesota to be able to provide state-specific results.
$335,426 Verdict (Florida 2023): The plaintiff, a 27-year-old female, went with her daughter to get gas a the defendant Citgo gas station. A group of teenagers had started to gather on the property and got into a large fight. As the plaintiff tried to drive away she was struck in the eye with a stray bullet fired by one of the teens. She sued the gas station for negligent security.
$1,449,924 Verdict (California 2022): The plaintiff, an adult male, suffered lacerations to his back and head trauma when he was assaulted and beaten by a group of fans at a legacy soccer match between retired Mexican professional players. The event was organized by the defendant, an entertainment company. The negligent security lawsuit alleged that the defendant failed to adequately protect the plaintiff from the assault.
$1,500,000 Settlement (Florida 2021): An adult male was shot and killed during an attempted robbery as he tried to use the ATM machine at his bank. A negligent security lawsuit was brought against the bank and the case was settled fairly quickly.
$68,500 Verdict (Connecticut 2021): The plaintiff was a customer at a bar and café. While she was there, two other men who were also at the bar got into a physical confrontation during which the plaintiff was struck and knocked down, resulting in injuries to her right arm and collar bone. The lawsuit alleged that the bar was negligent in failing to have an adequate number of security guards on hand.
$1,320,000 (Florida 2021): The plaintiff was a guest at a male-only resort in Miami Beach when he was attacked by a man with cement sprinkler brick resulting in a fractured hand with a pinkie finger that did not heal properly. The negligent security lawsuit alleged that the resort was understaffed and failed to provide adequate protection for guests.
$91,000,000 (Washington 2021): A 36-year-old male was at a gas station and convenience store when he was attacked with a baseball bat by a man who was attempting to rob the store. The man suffered permanent brain injuries leaving him mentally disabled. The lawsuit contended the defendant negligently failed to adopt, implement and enforce policies to ensure customer safety, failed to ensure that on duty employees would comply with industry standards to ensure customer safety and failed to take security measures to protect its patrons.
$38,625,000 (Nevada 2020): A 23-year-old man was shot and killed during an attempted carjacking that occurred in the parking lot of an apartment complex where he was an invited business guest. Wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the apartment complex alleging that it had knowledge of the high amount of dangerous and criminal activity on its property and knew that its property was a hub for gang members and violent criminals, yet it failed to implement adequate security measures.
Contact Us About Minnesota Negligent Security Cases
If you have a negligent security lawsuit in Minnesota, contact our personal injury lawyers today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or contact us online.