Even if you've never heard the phrase premises liability, you certainly understand the negative feelings that accompany visiting a dangerous neighborhood or unsafe building. In fact, some people will naturally avoid run-down shopping malls or poorly lit parking garages out of an innate sense of self-preservation. Unfortunately, these dangerous premises are not always avoidable.
In the worst-case scenario, you might be injured in an accident, mugged or sexually assaulted in one of these frightening areas. Many victims are content to allow the criminal justice system to punish the person responsible, but did you know that a property owner or manager could potentially be held responsible for monetary compensation?
Property owners, managers or supervisors have a duty to ensure the safety of their visitors. Whether this means replacing broken tiles, installing surveillance cameras, hiring a security staff or adding powerful lighting, a property owner's actions can directly impact the safety of his or her shoppers, visitors or residents. If property owners are negligent in their actions, they could be held liable for monetary damages that you might have incurred based on your injuries.
Based on the specifics of the situation, victims of criminal activity might have a civil lawsuit against not only the perpetrator of the crime, but also the property owner. These cases can be complex, and it can be challenging to prove that the owner or manager was negligent in his or her duties, but an experienced lawyer can aggressively fight for the maximum compensation possible. If it can be proven that the property owner's negligence contributed to your attack - a broken gate lock, an unlit hallway, an inattentive security staff - you might be entitled to money damages.
It is wise to explore all of your legal options before making a final decision regarding how you want to proceed.