As stated clearly in the Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions, businesses and property owners have a responsibility to exercise ordinary care to protect customers and other guests from harm. Beyond merely removing obvious safety hazards, companies have a proactive duty to take adequate security measures.
If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for an assault or criminal attack committed by a third party, including employees, other customers, and even trespassers. Here, our Spokane negligent security lawyers provide an overview of the four key things you need to bring to recover compensation in a negligent security lawsuit.
Four Elements of a Negligent Security Injury Lawsuit
Duty of Care
You can only bring a negligent security lawsuit against a business or a property owner if you can prove that they owed you a duty of care. In personal injury law, a duty of care is defined as a legal obligation whereby one party becomes responsible for looking out for the well-being of another. Under Washington’s premises liability laws, duty of care varies based on the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. For example, businesses owe a far higher duty of care to customers than they do to trespassers.
Breach of Duty of Care
After establishing the requisite standard of care, a negligent plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated (breached) their legal obligations. In most premises liability cases, this is the most sharply contested element. In effect, you need to prove that the defendant did something “wrong” that created unreasonably dangerous conditions on their property. As an example, a Spokane, WA hotel may be liable for a criminal assault that occurred because of a malfunctioning door lock.
A Causal Connection
To bring a successful premises liability lawsuit, you must prove a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty of care and your injuries. Proving that a Spokane business failed to implement proper security protocols is not necessarily sufficient to hold them liable through a personal injury claim. The negligent security must be causally connected to your injuries.
Finally, Washington requires a victim to suffer actual physical harm to file a successful premises liability lawsuit. To recover the full and fair financial compensation that you rightfully deserve under state law, you must demonstrate your damages. An experienced premises liability lawyer can help you put together a strong case to hold the negligent business liable and maximize your financial recovery.
Schedule a Free Personal Injury Consultation in Spokane, WA
At Albrecht Law PLLC, our top-rated Washington personal injury attorneys have the experience and knowledge to handle the full range of premises liability claims, including negligent security cases.
If you or your loved one was injured due to negligent security precautions of a business owner, we can help. Contact us today for a free, no commitment case evaluation. We represent injured victims in Spokane and throughout the surrounding region in Eastern Washington.