One of the fastest growing areas of tort law is premises security. These cases occur when someone is injured because of a property owner’s negligence. Amongst the most significant, and sometimes terrifying, types of dangerous premises cases result from robberies, muggings, or sexual assaults in parking lots or garages.
Not every criminal act will give rise to a premises liability lawsuit. A strong cases exists when the property owner was negligent in a manner which a reasonable owner would have realized, could result in violent crime. A common example is inadequately lit parking lots. If a store or mall remains open after dark, they owe customers sufficient lighting to deter crime, maintenance to make sure the lights are working, and adequate patrols. Parking garages can be particularly dangerous places, and parking garage crime is a serious problem, especially late at night when there are apt to be few people around. Garages often have deep and dark corners where a predator can easily hide and a crime can be committed without detection.
There is no substitute for a safety checklist taken by premises owners. It is especially shocking when large and sophisticated commercial owners, reaping huge profits from malls, parking lots, or parking garages, fail to spend the time and money to conduct a safety review of their premises and implement the measures necessary to improve customer safety.