The page will discuss negligent security lawsuits in North Carolina, including exactly how these lawsuits work and what negligent security lawyers in North Carolina need to do to prove a claim. Our lawyers also examine the settlement amounts and jury payouts victims see in these cases.
What Is A Negligent Security Lawsuit?
Negligent security lawsuits (also known as “inadequate security lawsuits”) are a special type of premises liability claim. They can be filed by individuals who are victims of violent crime due to a property owner’s failure to ensure adequate safety to shield visitors from criminal activities such as rape, murder, robbery, rape, or assault. These lawsuits are filed against security companies, property management companies, property owners, and retail businesses that do not take reasonable precautions to keep people safe.
Businesses Have a Duty To Keep Guests Safe
The underlying premise behind every inadequate security lawsuit in North Carolina is that the victim would have been safe if the property owner had maintained reasonable security measures on the premises. North Carolina law holds property owners accountable for negligent or inadequate security when they fail to implement reasonable measures to deter violent crime.
Does this mean that property owners are liable for every crime? No. Businesses or property owners are not required to guarantee absolute safety for everyone. But they are expected to implement sufficient precautions to minimize potential hazards and if they can be held liable if they fail to do this.
Common Defendants in North Carolina Negligent Security Lawsuits
Essentially any property owner or business that invites people onto their premises has a legal duty to provide reasonable security for those invitees. There are, however, certain types of property owners and businesses that make ideal defendants in negligent security lawsuits. These common negligent security defendants are listed below.
Hotels: Hotels are reasonably expected to provide a very high level of security for guests. At a minimum, this includes video monitoring, keyed access systems, 24-hour staffing, and possibly more.
Apartment Complexes: Apartment buildings or complexes also have a very high duty when it comes to providing for the security of tenants and their guests. This is especially true in high crime areas.
Retailers / Malls: Retail shopping areas such as malls, shopping plazas, or individual retail stores, have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that customers are reasonably safe when they come on the premises.
Schools: Public and private schools in North Carolina have a basic obligation to ensure that their students are safe on school grounds. This includes not just keeping students safe from strangers, but also ensuring that students are safe from violent acts committed by other students (or staff).
Hospitals: Hospitals in North Carolina also have an obligation to ensure the safety of patients and visitors to the hospital.
Bars / Nightclubs: Bars, nightclubs and other businesses where alcohol is served to large crowds, have special obligations to ensure the safety of their patrons. The primary focus here is keeping patrons safe from violence inflicted by other patrons at the bar.
Examples of Negligent Security Claims
Our negligent security lawyers see many different types of potential claims. To succeed in a negligent security case, a plaintiff will need to show that the defendant was negligent because they failed to provide reasonably adequate security on the premises. But what exactly does inadequate security actually mean?
In North Carolina, adequate security means security measures that a reasonable business owner would be expected to provide under the circumstances. This definition is very broad so almost any failure can be considered negligent security. Below is a list of some of the most common negligent security claims we see in North Carolina.
Example 1 (Nightclub): A nightclub serves alcohol to large crowds of relatively young patrons. Alcohol-induced altercations happen regularly. The bar owner has only one security guard at the front door and no formal policy of non-service to patrons who appear to be too drunk or aggressive. A group of young men come in and get very intoxicated and aggressive. They start causing trouble but nothing is done and the bar keeps serving them drinks. Eventually, the start a huge fight that lasts nearly 20 minutes before police arrive and 2 innocent patrons suffer serious injuries. The injured patrons have a valid claim against the bar for inadequate security.
Example 2 (Apartment): An apartment complex in the city is in a high crime area but the parking garage is poorly lit and has no lot attendant. The management company is aware of many criminal incidents occurring there but has done nothing. Jane, a tenant at the complex, is sexually assaulted in a back corner of the parking lot when she arrives home from work late one night. Jane can sue the apartment complex for negligent security.
Settlement Value of North Carolina Negligent Security Lawsuits
Negligent security lawsuits in North Carolina 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 Charlotte and Raleigh. Below are summaries of some verdicts and settlements from recent negligent security lawsuits in North Carolina.
$450,000 Settlement: Plaintiff was staying overnight at the defendant motel. He allegedly had difficulty finding his assigned room due to inadequate lighting. While unloading his car in the motel parking lot, he was struck from behind, beaten, and robbed. Negligence alleged in lawsuit included inadequate security; failure to adequately light parking lot, train personnel in safety matters, establish security patrol procedures, and follow security procedures dictated by the hotel franchisor.
$850,000 Verdict: A 32-year-old male alleged that he suffered blindness in one eye, a facial fracture, and multiple rib fractures when he was physically attacked by two nonparty patrons at the defendant’s tavern where he was a business invitee. The plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to provide a safe environment for the plaintiff, failed to provide adequate security personnel, negligently continued to serve the nonparty patrons with the knowledge that they were highly intoxicated, and that its negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
$72,000 Settlement: The plaintiff was robbed and assaulted in his hotel room just outside Charlotte. He suffered a broken jaw and a concussion and post-concussion syndrome. He sued the hotel alleged that it was negligent in failing to have keyed access to common areas and failing to have a video monitoring system in the hotel.
Contact Us About North Carolina Negligent Security Cases
If you have a negligent security lawsuit in North Carolina, contact our personal injury lawyers today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or contact us online.