Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that you will not find yourself in the middle of a criminal act during the course of your everyday life. You could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time when a criminal decides to rob a gas station or even the neighborhood ice cream store. You could also unwittingly find yourself standing next to someone in a nightclub when a fight breaks out among other patrons. All too often, innocent bystanders suffer both physical and emotional injuries as a result of a crime committed in their presence. If you are a victim, you are likely wondering who is liable for your injuries. Although the perpetrator is legally liable, you probably won’t see any compensation from him/her. What about the owner of the business where the crime occurred? Can a business owner be held liable for injuries caused by a criminal attack on the premises?
The simple answer to that question is “yes,” a business owner may be held legally liable for injuries you suffered as a result of a criminal attack while you were on the premises. Premises liability is the area of the law that addresses injuries to a victim that occurred while the victim was on the property of another party. The most common example of premises liability is a “slip and fall” case where a victim slips, trips, or stumbles over a hazard found in a store or other business. Premises liability, however, can also extend to criminal acts perpetrated by a third party that result in injuries to an innocent victim.
For a business owner to be held liable for injuries sustained as a result of a criminal attack by a third party the business owner’s negligence must have, in some way, contributed to the injuries. A common example of a situation where a business owner might be held liable is if the owner had inadequate security on the premises. For example, imagine that you were the guest in a hotel and were injured when a criminal broke into the room and attacked you. Imagine further that the hotel failed to change the key cards for the guest rooms every time a guest checked out and that lapse in security contributed to the criminal’s ability to get into the room in the first place. In that case, you might be able to successfully claim that the hotel’s failure to change the cards amounted to inadequate security, providing the basis for a premises liability claim based on negligence.
If you have additional questions or concerns about premises liability, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Broussard & Hart, LLC by calling 337-439-2450 to schedule your appointment today.