Security guard shirt

Why Philadelphia Property Owners Can Be Liable For Negligent Security

Philadelphia property owners can be held liable for negligent security under certain circumstances. Negligent security is a legal concept that falls under the broader category of premises liability, which holds property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries on their property. This legal area concerns the duty of property owners to maintain a safe environment and take proper security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal acts, such as assaults, robberies, or other incidents causing harm.

Situations Where Property Owners May be Liable For Negligent  Security

  • 1) Poor lighting in areas like parking lots or building entrances, creating an environment conducive to criminal activity.
  • 2) Failure to repair broken locks on doors, windows, or gates, allowing easy access for intruders.
  • 3) Lack of surveillance cameras or malfunctioning security equipment, which can deter criminal behavior and provide evidence if incidents occur.
  • 4) Insufficient security personnel, whether due to not employing enough staff or failing to train them properly.
  • 5) Neglecting to implement necessary security measures like access control or alarm systems leaves the property vulnerable to criminal acts.

Property owners should regularly assess and update security measures to prevent criminal activities and reduce liability risk.

To establish a negligent security claim in Philadelphia, the victim must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about potential criminal activity risks and that their failure to take appropriate security measures resulted in injury or harm.

Suppose someone suffers due to inadequate security measures. In that case, they should report the incident, seek medical attention, document the scene, maintain records of expenses and injuries, and consult an attorney experienced in negligent security claims and premises liability law. Legal action can involve demonstrating the property owner’s negligence, establishing a link between this negligence and the harm suffered, and negotiating compensation for damages like medical expenses and pain and suffering​​​​.

Elements That Would Constitute Inadequate Security On The Part Of Property Owners

  • Duty of Care: Property owners owe a duty of care to all lawful visitors, which means they must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. The extent of this duty can vary depending on the type of property and the expected visitors. For example, residential property owners owe a duty of care to their tenants, and commercial property owners, such as those running stores, malls, or hotels, owe a duty to their customers and employees.
  • Foreseeability of Harm: A key element in negligent security cases is the foreseeability of harm. Suppose a property owner knows or should have known about a potential danger on their property. In that case, property owners should take reasonable measures to prevent damage, which can be particularly relevant in areas with a history of criminal activity. If prior incidents suggest a likelihood of future crimes, the property owner should know to implement security measures.
  • Reasonable Security Measures: Property owners must implement reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable harm. What is considered “reasonable” can vary but may include installing adequate lighting, maintaining locks and security systems, hiring security personnel, and ensuring that common areas are safe and secure. The nature of these measures will often depend on the type of property and the level of risk involved.
  • Breach of Duty: Liability for negligent security arises when property owners fail to fulfill their duty of care, which could involve failing to install necessary security systems, neglecting to repair broken locks, or not responding appropriately to known security threats. The breach of duty must be directly related to the harm suffered by the victim.
  • Causation and Damages: To hold a property owner liable for negligent security, he must have breached a duty that led to the plaintiff’s harm. The victim must demonstrate that the property owner’s negligence caused their injuries. Additionally, the victim must have suffered actual damages, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, or financial losses.
  • Legal Proceedings and Defenses: Victims of negligent security in Philadelphia must file a lawsuit within a specific time frame, known as the statute of limitations.  Plaintiffs should file a premises liability claim within two(2)  years of the accident’s occurrence in Pennsylvania. Property owners may then defend themselves by arguing that they took all reasonable security measures, that the harm was not foreseeable, or that the victim’s negligence contributed to their injuries.

Contact a Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorney

Philadelphia property owners must provide a safe environment for lawful visitors. Failing to meet this obligation by not implementing adequate security measures can lead to liability for any resulting harm. Victims of negligent security should consult a qualified attorney to understand their rights and the potential for recovering damages. Cooper Schall & Levy has experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate your case and protect your interests.  Contact our Philadelphia office for an initial complimentary consultation.

Man in pain after slipping down a flight of stairs

What Makes A Property Owner Liable For A Slip and Fall?

You often might hear the term “slip and fall” accident.  These accidents refer to situations where an individual falls and sustains injuries on someone else’s property. Slip and fall accidents at businesses in Pennsylvania are a significant concern, as they can lead to severe injuries and substantial legal liabilities. These incidents often occur due to unsafe conditions on the premises, such as wet floors, poor lighting, or uneven surfaces. Businesses are legally required to maintain safe environments for customers and employees; failing to do so can result in negligence claims. As a result, the injured party may have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Understanding the legal framework and preventive measures is essential for business owners and individuals to mitigate risks associated with these accidents.

What Makes A Property Owner In Pennsylvania Responsible For Such  Incidents?

  • Duty of Care: Pennsylvania property owners have a legal obligation to keep their premises safe for visitors.  The rules for slip and fall accidents on public property are governed by premises liability laws. These laws vary based on the status of the property owner (general business or private individual) and the status of the injured party (invitee, licensee, or trespasser).
    General businesses, such as grocery stores or retail shops, owe the highest duty of care. They are required to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner, which includes conducting regular inspections and addressing known hazards. If a customer is injured due to a condition like broken concrete or ice on a sidewalk adjacent to the business, the business can be held liable if it can be proven that they should have known about the hazard.
    Private property owners are held to a different standard, which varies depending on the status of the injured person. The standard is whether the injured person is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Invitees, who are typically invited to the property, must be protected from known hazards and potentially unknown hazards that should have been discovered.
    Licensees, who enter the property for a specific purpose with the owner’s permission, must be protected from hidden dangers. Guests who enter the property for social reasons (for example, friends visiting a home). Owners must warn licensees of any non-obvious dangers that the owner is aware of. Trespassers are people who enter the property without permission and generally do not have the right to expect a duty of care, except in cases where the property owner acts in a willful or wanton manner that leads to injury.
  • Notice of Hazard: For a property owner to be held responsible for a slip and fall accident, it must be proven that they knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to correct it or warn visitors. This is known as “constructive notice” and is often the most challenging element to prove in a slip-and-fall case.
  • Causation: It must be shown that the hazardous condition directly caused the slip and fall accident. This means the injury must be a direct result of the hazard on the property, such as ice on a sidewalk, liquid on a supermarket floor, or an uneven staircase.
  • Injury and Damages: The victim must prove that they suffered actual injuries or damages as a result of the slip and fall. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
  • Comparative Negligence: Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the injured party is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault. If they are more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover any damages.
  • Time Limits: Under Pennsylvania law, there is a statute of limitations for slip and fall claims. This means the injured party generally has two years after the accident to file a lawsuit. 


In summary, a property owner in Pennsylvania can be held responsible for a slip and fall accident if they failed to maintain a safe environment, knew or should have known about the hazard, did not correct the hazard or warn of its existence, and this negligence directly led to the accident and resulting injuries. However, the specific circumstances of each case can vary, and liability can be affected by the status of the injured person and whether they contributed to their own accident. Since these rules can become complex depending on the specific circumstances of the slip and fall accident, consulting with a legal professional for a detailed understanding and evaluation of a specific case is recommended​​​​. Cooper Schall & Levy has experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate your case and protect your interests.  Contact our Philadelphia office for an initial complimentary consultation.

Personal Injury attorney reviewing case

Premises Liability Case Weaknesses

In a premises liability claim, an injured party is asserting that a property owner failed to keep the premises safe and they were injured as a result. Pursuing a premises liability claim means the injured party can seek compensation for the harm the suffered due to the property owner’s negligence. There are, however, several hurdles that need to be overcome in the pursuit of a successful premises liability claim. To help ensure that you conquer those hurdles, we are going to discuss several of the weaknesses a premises liability case may suffer from. Be mindful of these and avoid these in the pursuit of your claim.

Premises Liability Case Weaknesses

The number one weakness that many premises liability cases suffer from is a lack of evidence. This is not only a common weakness, but it can be fatal to the claim itself. The claimant, or plaintiff, in a premises liability claim, has the burden of proving that the defendant property owner was negligent in maintaining the property and keeping the property relatively free from hazards. The plaintiff must also prove that it was the defendant property owner’s negligence that caused them injury. Every element of the claim must be supported by credible evidence. Without this evidence, it is unlikely that the claim will be successful.

Another weakness a premises liability claim is founded in the theory of comparative negligence. You see, the court will weigh whether the actions of the plaintiff contributed to their injury. If the court finds that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for their own injury, it is unlikely that the plaintiff will be able to recover damages.

Actions of the plaintiff are, of course, relevant in many aspects to a premises liability case. Potential comparative negligence implications are one such way they could come into play. Another way the plaintiff’s actions could come into play is when assessing the assumption of risk on the plaintiff’s part. Was the plaintiff aware of the danger on the property and chose to go on the property anyway? If they knew of the danger and voluntarily entered the property anyways, the court may deem that they, therefore, assumed the risk of being on the property.

It should also be noted that a key element in a premises liability claim is that the property owner must have had notice or should have known about the dangerous property condition. Lack of such notice can seriously undermine a premises liability claim or make it downright unviable. If a defendant had no notice of the dangerous property condition, then they may not be held liable for the resulting damages sustained by the visitor to the property.

Waiting to bring your premises liability claim can also weaken your claim or kill it all together. Pennsylvania law has a statute of limitations in place that means an injury victim has two years from the date they were injured to file a personal injury lawsuit such as a premises liability case. Should you wait too long to bring your claim, it may be barred entirely.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Injured on someone else’s property? Do not delay! Get the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy by your side to fight for your right to full and fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.

Client sitting with personal injury attorney

Building an Inadequate Security Premises Liability Case

If you have been the victim of a crime on the property of another, you may be able to hold them liable for the harm you have suffered. You see, establishments have a duty to put adequate security measures in place to protect visitors to the property from being the victims of crimes. Failure to do so could result in a crime victim bringing an inadequate security claim, which is a type of premises liability claim, against the property owner seeking the recovery of compensation for damages suffered as a result of the inadequate security.

Building an Inadequate Security Premises Liability Case

There are a few key factors to consider when you are building an inadequate security case. First of all, remember that, as a claimant, you are looking to show that the establishment failed to put sufficient security measures in place to prevent the crime that occurred from occurring in the first place. As such, the nature of the crime that occurred will be a critical element in building your case. Did the establishment put adequate security measures in place to prevent that specific type of crime from occurring? For instance, if the crime was theft, a court may consider whether the establishment had adequate lighting in the area or security cameras.

Where the crime occurred on the property will also be relevant to the inquiry as to whether the establishment should be held liable in an inadequate security claim. Are there areas of the property that are not as well secured as they should be? Did the crime occur in a poorly lit area or a secluded area? If the establishment has such gaps in their security measures, this will be relevant to a court’s evaluation as to whether they were providing adequate security on the property.

In order to support your inadequate security claim, there are a number of sources you can draw on to support your assertions that you were harmed due to inadequate security on a property. For starters, you can point to any previous criminal activity that occurred on that same property or even in the area surrounding the property. Previous crimes at the establishment can be particularly compelling as it shows that it would have been reasonable for the establishment to take steps to prevent that crime from occurring again.

You can also look to industry standards for security to strengthen your claim. The court is likely to consider what security measures are a standard for use in a particular industry and this standard is likely to vary widely between industries. For instance, an apartment building is likely to have a security desk at the front manned by security guards. A small retail shop, on the other hand, is not likely to have this.

Using expert testimony to support your claim can also work to your advantage in bringing your inadequate security claim. An expert is likely to provide solid evidence of industry standards for security and whether that establishment failed to comply with those standards. In addition to expert testimony, you will need other evidence that the establishment was negligent in its duties to provide adequate security. Other evidence of this can include things like police reports in addition to expert testimony.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

In a successful inadequate security claim, you can recover compensation for the injuries and other damages you suffered as the result of being a crime victim on someone else’s property. For legal counsel you can trust, turn to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy.  Contact us today.

injury victim filling out personal injury claim

What You Need to Know About Premises Liability Claims

Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably free of hazards in order to keep those who come on to their property safe. This is how premises liability claims came to be. When a property owner fails to uphold this duty and someone is injured as a result, the injured party can bring a premises liability claim seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered as a result of that failed duty.

What You Need to Know About Premises Liability Claims

Premises liability claims fall under the purview of personal injury law and, like the majority of personal injury claims, they are based on a legal theory of negligence. In order to prove negligence, a claimant must show that they were owed a duty of care, that the party who owed them a duty of care failed to uphold the duty, and that they suffered harm that was caused by this failure. Thus, injury resulting from a property owner’s negligence can be the basis of a premises liability claim.

It is worth emphasizing, however, that being injured on the property of another will not, in and of itself, mean you have a viable premises liability claim on your hands. The simple fact that there was an unsafe property condition on their property does not necessarily mean you have a viable premises liability claim on your hands. The property owner must have known or should reasonably have known about the hazardous condition and taken reasonable steps to neutralize the danger it posed.

Slip and fall cases are perhaps the most common or the most well-known type of premises liability claim. In a slip and fall case, a fall is caused by a dangerous property condition on the property of another. Dangerous property conditions that lead to such falls often include:

  • Staircase defect
  • Ice or snow
  • Wet or slick floors
  • Walkways in disrepair
  • Unsecured rugs

Dog bite cases are another common type of premises liability claim. Property owners that have dogs have a duty to keep their dog properly restrained. This is especially true if the property owner is aware that the dog has a tendency to be aggressive. If a dog is not properly secured by a leash, fencing, or something else, and that dog injures a person, then the dog owner can be held responsible for the resulting harm suffered by that person.

When a person brings a premises liability claim, they can seek compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are indeed intended to compensate a claimant for harm they have suffered. A premises liability claimant can seek damages such as:

  • Cost of medical care
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

In certain cases that prove particularly egregious, a claimant may be able to seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages seek to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in such behavior.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, do not hesitate to get in touch with the trusted personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy to discuss your options for bringing a premises liability claim. Contact us today.

Couple meeting attorney to discuss negligent security claim.

What Is a Negligent Security Claim?

If a person is injured because this duty has been violated, then he or she may be able to seek compensation from the person tasked with maintaining the property. This category of personal injury claims is referred to as “premises liability.” One of the most common kinds of premises liability claims involve slip and falls. Another type of premises liability is a negligent security claim.

Understanding a Negligent Security Claim

A negligent security claim is a form of civil redress for harm suffered due to criminal acts. Part of a property owner’s duty to maintain safe property conditions is providing reasonable security measures in order to protect visitors from foreseeable crimes perpetrated by third parties. If a person has been the victim of a crime that may have been prevented had the property owner put proper security measures in place, the injured person may seek compensation from the property owner for his or her injuries. Premises liability claims often arise from crimes such as robbery, assault, battery, and rape.

In order to bring a successful negligent security claim, the plaintiff, the injured party, will need to be able to prove that the property owner failed to uphold the duty to exercise reasonable care in providing adequate security measures on the property. The plaintiff will need to prove that he or she was lawfully present on the defendant’s property, was injured by a criminal act on the property that was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant, and that he or she would not have been the victim of this criminal activity had the defendant upheld the requisite duty of care. The plaintiff must also show that he or she sustained actual damages.

The really critical issues in negligent security claims include the foreseeability of the crime and whether sufficient, reasonable security measures were taken to prevent the foreseeable crime from being committed. A crime may be considered reasonable foreseeable if there were other, similar crimes previously committed in the area. If law enforcement were often called to the property, this may also be evidence of foreseeability of the criminal activity. Whether the property owner took reasonable measures to keep visitors safe will depend on the foreseeability of the crime. A property owner may take the following steps to prevent crime from occurring in the property:

  • Posting warning signs
  • Having adequate safety lighting (such as motion sensor lighting and floodlights)
  • Using motion sensor alarms
  • Posting security guards
  • Installing locks
  • Training staff on how to respond to suspicious people
  • Installing security cameras.

Pennsylvania Premises Liability Attorneys

If you have been the victim of a crime that took place on the property of another, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you endured because of the crime. The team of dedicated premises liability attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy are here to fight for you. Contact us today.

Cooper Schall & Levy gives an overview of a notice requirement in premises liability cases.

What Is the Notice Requirement in Premises Liability Cases?

If you have injured yourself on the property of another person or on a business’s property, you may be able to bring a premises liability claim seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses. To successfully bring a premises liability claim, you must be prepared to establish that the defendant, the person you are bringing a claim against, owed you a duty to exercise due care. You must also show that the defendant breached this duty. Finally, you must prove that the breach of the legal duty was the proximate cause of your injuries. A landowner is not going to be responsible for every injury that occurs on their property. 

The Notice Requirement in Premises Liability Cases

Many people are not aware that a property owner must know or have reason to know of a dangerous condition on the property before being held responsible for injuries caused by the dangerous condition. This is what is referred to as the “notice requirement” in a premises liability claim because it refers to the fact that the property owner must have been put on notice that the dangerous condition existed. 

Landowners have an affirmative duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care to protect the safety of people expected to be on the property. This includes protecting against risks associated with dangerous conditions and means that the owner must do things like make regular inspections of the property or take other affirmative steps to be aware of property conditions. However, you must still be able to prove that the owner knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed.

As the party bringing the claim, you have the burden of proving that the owner had either actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy the situation before you got hurt. Knowledge of the dangerous condition may have been actual or implied. Actual knowledge refers to when a property owner knew about the condition because he or she actually saw the condition or someone told him or her of the condition prior to the accident. Implied knowledge, also referred to as “constructive knowledge,” relies on the fact that the owner should have known of the dangerous condition because either it was something like an obvious hazard or the dangerous condition had been around for a period of time where the owner had ample opportunity, considering a property owner’s affirmative duty to inspect the property for hazards, to see the dangerous condition and also to remedy the situation.

Premises Liability Attorneys

Proving all necessary elements of a premises liability case as well as fulfilling the notice requirement can be an uphill battle. At Cooper Schall & Levy, our attorneys are well versed in the area of premises liability claims and know what it takes to be successful. We are here to fight for you and your right to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.