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Negligent Security And Liability For Gun Violence


When there is a crime—specifically, a shooting–we all know the gunman or criminal is the one responsible for the injury. But is he or she the only person responsible? Not necessarily. You may be surprised to know that not only will the state come after the individual who committed the shooting but you as a victim may have a right to sue the business or establishment where the shooting happened.

Foreseeability for Criminal Acts

This is because every business has some obligation to provide a level of security to their patrons. Of course, not every business can anticipate or prevent every type of crime—crime is random. But sometimes, it is not that random. Sometimes, there is something about a particular premises that puts a business owner on notice that they need to have some additional safety measures to protect the people it is inviting onto its property.

For example, a shopping mall may have a heightened duty to have security than an office building—criminals know that people who shop come with money and may have purchased valuables. Someone with a large, vast parking lot may have a heightened duty to provide security more so than a business with a smaller parking lot.

A business located in a higher crime area may have a heightened duty to provide more security than other businesses. Businesses that cater to vulnerable populations—say, elderly people—may have an increased duty to provide safety measures.

Some businesses will purposely make people park very far away from where they are going—this is especially common in concerts or sporting events. If a business leaves its customers somewhere far, unmonitored, or unsafe, the business could be responsible for crime that occurs in those areas.

What Can Businesses Do?

The question becomes one of foreseeability—is it foreseeable that a crime such as a shooting could occur on the property? To determine that, we look at many of the factors listed above as well as the crime history where the particular business is located.

There are a number of things that a business can do to keep its property safer. Some include:

  • Having actual security guards on the premises
  • Having security guards monitor parking areas or areas where customers may be coming to or from their vehicles
  • Providing adequate lighting and security cameras, all which tend to deter crime
  • Having a gate system to enter a parking lot which is often used in apartment complexes

A business will often try to say that a shooting is the criminal’s fault, which it is—but legally a business cannot wipe its hands of liability and allow criminal acts to take place on its property. When a crime occurs on property, a victim is allowed to look at the security measures used by a business, and hold them liable if they didn’t do enough to try to avoid the criminal act.

Have you been a victim of a crime on someone else’s property? Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, today for help if you are a victim in any kind of accident.




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