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Did Negligent Security Allow Attack in Store Parking Lot?

A store customer sees two men wearing masks and acting suspiciously in a store parking lot. He observes one man carrying a wooden rod. The customer reports what he sees to the store’s security office.

The store then allows the customer to walk outside – without any security escort or protection – where he suffers a severe beating from the same two men whom he had just reported to the store.

Could this incident have been avoided? Did the beating result from negligent security? Should the store be held liable?

Answers Sought in Wake of Brutal Attack at Dallas Store

Many people want answers to those questions after this exact incident occurred in January outside of a Target store in Dallas.

According to news reports, the attack left the customer – a 33-year-old man who is a well-known local theater director – with a fractured skull that required surgery and treatment in an intensive care unit.

The customer’s attorney recently held a press conference, raising questions about how Target’s security staff handled the situation after the man reported seeing the two suspicious individuals. The attorney claims that the store’s security allowed the man to walk into an “ambush.”

“This is the worst nightmare of any customer, that you are threatened, you ask for help and rather than getting help – you turn into a target for a deadly attack,” the attorney told Fox 4 News in Dallas.

A Key Question in Negligent Security Claims: Was the Attack Foreseeable?

If a person gets attacked while lawfully on the property of another – for instance, a customer at a store, guest at a hotel or tenant in an apartment complex – that person may have grounds to bring a specific type of premises liability claim against the property owner. It is commonly called a “negligent security” or “inadequate security” claim.

The person may seek compensation for the physical, emotional and financial harm that he or she has suffered, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and mental anguish.

As this Dallas incident underscores, a key question in a negligent security case is whether the property owner could have reasonably foreseen the attack. This question can be answered by looking at evidence such as:

  • The owner knew (or reasonably should have known) about similar incidents occurring in the past on the property, including incidents reported to the police and/or directly to the owner.
  • The owner witnessed or received prior complaints about the suspicious activity of one or more individuals on the premises.
  • The owner hired an individual to work on the property who had a background of violent behavior (such as a prior assault conviction).

If the owner could have reasonably foreseen an attack, the next question is whether the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect lawful visitors from such an attack.

For example, given the risk, did the property owner provide security officers, install security devices such as locks and alarms or adhere to basic industry security standards? If not, the owner could be held liable.

Our Chicago Negligent Security Attorneys Can Help You

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a property owner’s inadequate security, you should seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer.

The lawyer will know the right questions to ask in a negligent security case as well as how to gather and analyze the evidence that can answer those questions.

Get in touch with Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We have extensive experience with premises liability claims in Chicago and throughout Illinois, and we are sincerely passionate about helping victims and their families to seek justice and the compensation they are due.

We can provide a free consultation and begin an immediate investigation of your case. Call or reach us online today to learn more.

Patrick A. Salvi

Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.

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