Do You Have a Negligent Security Claim?

Providence has its share of violence occurring in, and just outside, of its many bars and nightclubs. Police details seem to break up fights every weekend and the City has made efforts to curb the violence including, but not limited to, revoking the liquor license of bars with frequent problems of violence, attempting to reduce closing time from 2 am to 1 am, and by increasing the police detail outside the clubs at closing time.

If the injury or attack occurs inside, or immediately outside, of a bar or nightclub, you may have a case for negligent security. Negligent security is a form of premises liability, in which the landlord may be responsible for the injury sustained. A property owner (including bar and night club owners) has a responsibility to assess the danger to their invited guests and take measures to prevent injury. Landlords can try to protect guests by hiring additional security guards, limiting the number of guests allowed inside, monitoring the amount of alcohol served to individual patrons, increased lighting, training their security personnel to properly respond to an incident, and many other methods. Such steps are particular necessary in high crime areas or in bars or nightclubs with “questionable” reputations.

I represent the family of a young man who was murdered outside of a Providence nightclub, and I receive many other inquiries from people who have been attacked inside a bar. It seems to me an increasingly serious problem occurring with all too much frequency. If you have been physically attacked or sexually assaulted inside a public facility, you may have a case for negligent security. And keep in mind that these types of cases, while most common in bars and nightclubs, can occur almost anywhere. Malls, sports stadiums, schools and universities, and apartment buildings all have a duty to protect invited guests and prevent foreseeable injuries.

In order to succeed in a negligent security case you need to show that the attack was foreseeable and that the landlord, or his or her employees, failed to take adequate action to protect the victim. Whether your case meets the requirements for a negligent security case really depends on the facts and you will need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you decide if you have a case worth pursuing.

It is also important to know that because of the increased frequency of these types of cases, many insurance companies are now placing exclusions in their policies which state that they are not obligated to pay negligent security claims. In other words, the insurance company will cover a slip and fall or other type of accident, but will not cover the damages to a victim who was physically or sexually attacked due to lack of security.