No one purposely takes risks with their own safety and security. Most of us know to stay alert when walking around a city at night, to lock our doors and not let strangers into our homes, and to call police when we feel threatened or see suspicious activity. However, we also naturally feel more at ease when we see that a building, parking garage, or park has security guards, surveillance cameras, or locks that keep non-guests out. We trust that those measures will keep us safe.
When that trust is broken, however, and you are the victim of a violent criminal act anywhere in New Mexico, you may be able to take legal action against the property owner who failed to protect you. While your attacker will face criminal charges for what he did, those responsible for the lack of security can face civil penalties.
When a Claim of Negligent Security May Apply
If you suffer a slip and fall accident in an Albuquerque business, you may be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner if his negligence led to a slippery floor, faulty guardrail, defective staircase, or any other hazard. But when poor lighting, broken locks, or an unqualified security guard leads to an attack on your person, the claim would fall under negligent security. This claim can apply to any property that is not owned by you, including:
- Hotels or motels
- Apartment buildings
- Parking garages or parking lots
- Amusement parks
- Shopping centers
- Bars or restaurants
- Zoos or parks
- Gyms or fitness centers
- Schools or colleges
- Office buildings
- Airports, train stations, or bus stations
- Tourist attractions
Owners of these kinds of properties must make a reasonable attempt to keep visitors and patrons safe from criminal acts. Adequate safety measures can be very expensive and business owners often cut costs by hiring untrained security guards, using substandard or nonworking surveillance systems, and failing to inspect and maintain locks, windows, and alarms. If a victim can prove that a failure of this type led to his or her attack, he will have a strong case for a negligent security lawsuit.
What You Need to Prove a Claim of Negligent Security in New Mexico
Unfortunately, random attacks do happen. When a criminal acts in a completely unpredictable way to cause harm to others, it’s very difficult to hold anyone other than the attacker responsible for the crime. However, most acts of violence are not unpredictable. In order to prove a claim of negligent security against a property owner, your attorney will need to prove that the crime was:
- Foreseeable. To establish this important fact, the victim must show that either an atmosphere of potential violence existed on or around the property or that the owner had constructive knowledge of the attacker’s violent nature. In other words, there must have been reason to believe that a crime could occur at this location. This standard is often proven just by the fact that a premises has security guards or surveillance equipment, as that is an acknowledgement of the potential for a crime.
- The direct result of a lapse in security. To show causation, the victim’s attorney must prove that the security measures that were in place were inadequate to protect guests or visitors. If an attacker breaks through a high-quality, functioning security system, the property owner will probably not be found liable, but if security guards are untrained, asleep on the job, or simply incompetent, that could show causation.
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in an attack on someone else’s property in New Mexico, you will need an experienced negligent security attorney. The law is designed to protect and compensate victims, but the standards for proving the claim are high. An attorney who knows the law will give you your best chance at a recovery
We Are Your Go-to Negligent Security Attorneys in Albuquerque
Particularly in cases where the perpetrator of the crime is not caught, a negligent security claim against the owner of the property where the attack took place could be the only way a victim can seek justice. At Keller & Keller, we serve all of New Mexico in negligent security claims. Start a live chat with us now or call our office at 800-253-5537. You pay no fees until you win, so you have nothing to lose.