Do Baltimore Property Owners Have a Duty to Protect Against Crime?
Crime persists throughout the US, and statistics indicate that Baltimore sees its fair share of illegal activity. Researchers report that the city ranks higher than the national average for violent crime, a problem that tends to affect many other metropolitan areas of similar population. Police are resilient in their efforts to combat violent crime, as is their job. However, you might be surprised to learn that business and property owners also have duties to protect visitors in the event of criminal activity.
The basis for imposing a duty on property owners is Maryland premises liability laws. If a party does not maintain a safe, secure space, victims who are injured because of dangerous conditions can recover compensation. One example of a dangerous condition is criminal activity on the premises, so you may have legal remedies if you were attacked. It is crucial to discuss your situation with an Owings Mills negligent security attorney, but some information about your rights is useful.
Actual v. Constructive Notice: Property owners only have a duty to take care of those hazards that are reasonably foreseeable, so they cannot be liable unless there is notice of a dangerous condition. There are two types in a negligent security case:
- The owner has actual notice of criminal activity, such as being robbed or employees being attacked.
- There is constructive notice based upon dangers that the owner should be aware of in managing the property. A property owner cannot ignore indicators of criminal activity in the area, even if the misconduct did not directly affect it.
Evidence of Criminal Activity: To prove that the property owner had either actual or constructive notice, there are many sources that could support your claim. They include:
- Annual crime reports published by the US government;
- Statistics from state and local police departments and officials;
- Police apprehensions and arrests in the area; and,
- Security camera footage of criminal activity.
This evidence is useful for proving how past criminal activity should have alerted the property owner to take action to protect visitors. Hiring a security guard and installing proper lighting are some measures that would be necessary.
Compensation for Victims of Assault: Negligent security cases fall under personal injury laws, so you may recover damages for your losses. Some are economic, such as medical costs for emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, and other treatment. If you were unable to work because of your injuries, you can seek amounts for lost income.
Other losses are personal to you and affect quality of life, so you may recover for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other noneconomic damages.
Speak to a Baltimore Negligent Security Lawyer to Learn More
If you were attacked because a business or property owner failed to secure the premises, you will need skilled legal help. Furman | Honick Law is prepared to assist with filing a claim and suing in court, so please contact us at 410-844-6000 or via our website. We can schedule a consultation at our offices in Owings Mills or Baltimore, MD.