Many business and property owners employ security guards to provide protection and a sense of safety for visitors, customers, residents, and employees. These professionals can work for security companies and offer security services at public and private venues.
When a business owner invites someone onto their premises, they assume a legal responsibility to keep guests safe from threats of physical harm and foreseeable dangers. When that doesn’t happen, certain parties can be held liable for the claimant’s personal injury or other damages.
WHAT IS PREMISES LIABILITY?
The term “premises liability” refers to a property owner’s responsibility for what happens on their property. Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, you have a duty of care, which means they need to take reasonable precautions to ensure people on their property stay safe. When a property owner is aware of preventable personal injury risk and doesn’t address it, it’s known as premises liability.
WHAT IS NEGLIGENT SECURITY?
This occurs when security measures should be in place, but the property owner fails to provide sufficient security for guests, customers, or clients, and someone becomes the victim of a crime as a result.
- Property damage
- Sexual assaults
The job of a security service professional is to protect other people from danger, which means a security guard is at risk of being sued for wrongful acts or negligence. This is where the proper insurance comes in. Similar to how doctors need malpractice insurance to protect them from personal injury claims, security service professionals need coverage.
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT DICTATE NEGLIGENCE
For security guards, circumstances that dictate negligence occur when they fail to act when they should and could have. If a security guard fails to act out of carelessness, negligence is also relevant and can be proven.
Along with security guards’ behavior, security systems can lead to negligence. A security camera that is designed to record criminal activity or deter crime should be functioning properly, along with alarms that are designed to report break-ins and detect movement. Additionally, lights that illuminate an area must be appropriately maintained to prevent theft and damage.
TYPES OF ESTABLISHMENTS THAT SHOULD GET LIABILITY PROTECTION
A negligent security claim can arise from virtually any type of premise, including commercial and residential properties that are privately or publicly owned – examples include:
Bars often attract large crowds. Patrons come to get drinks with friends and enjoy live music, and the combination of alcohol and an overly crowded space can lead to rowdy patrons. While security guards could get a boisterous crowd under control, some bar owners don’t employ security guards, and other employees are unlikely to be trained on proper security procedures. However, even bars that do employ security guards could face liability concerns due to negligence. No matter the circumstances, bars face a high liability risk, and you can provide them with essential coverage.
Similar to bars, clubs can get crowded and attract unruly patrons. This can lead to an unsafe environment. Many clubs employ staff to screen patrons before they enter the premises. If a staff member at the door fails to prevent an incident due to negligence, the club could be liable.
Both diners and staff can be at risk while on the premises of a restaurant. Because restaurants are open to the public and anyone can come inside, it’s especially important for restaurant owners to have the appropriate liability insurance.
At the hospital, employees work around the clock, meaning many staff members are present in the middle of the night. Further, due to the large size of some hospital campuses, it can be difficult to keep track of who’s coming and going. These circumstances make hospitals an ideal candidate for security measures — and liability insurance as a result.
5. Nursing Homes
Proper security measures should be in place to keep residents and staff safe in nursing homes. If nursing homes don’t have security cameras or don’t mandate that visitors check in, outsiders could enter the property and injure residents or staff.
6. Apartment Buildings and Dorms
Both apartment buildings and dorms need to be maintained to keep residents safe. Even when residential buildings have security measures like keycard entry and security guards, non-residents can enter the premises and potentially cause security problems. It’s crucial for landlords and property managers to consider the risk of negligent security and obtain insurance to protect themselves.
The safety of a hotel can depend on numerous variables. Cases of theft, vandalism, and more could occur, so security measures should be put in place to deter criminal activity. If a negligent security claim is filed, a hotel owner needs liability insurance coverage.
In all of the previous examples, failure to improve security can lead to injuries and legal claims when a property owner is aware or has reason to suspect that their property has dangerous conditions that could put visitors or residents at risk. Other establishments that could be at risk of liability for negligent security include:
- Event venues
- Gas stations
- Office buildings
HOW BUSINESS OWNERS CAN PROTECT THEIR SECURITY TEAMS FROM LIABILITY CLAIMS
Whether employed by private business owners or security companies, security guards can be protected from liability claims through training, equipment, property protection, and liability insurance.
As a security guard, the job often includes the following tasks:
- Assisting law enforcement
- Decreasing criminal activity
- Communicating with law enforcement
- Identifying and preventing dangerous situations
- Helping guests, customers, and employees in emergency situations
The best way for business owners to make sure their team is capable of doing their jobs effectively is by providing proper training. Depending on the state in which the business is located, the training regulations and requirements may vary. Further, training can vary depending on whether the security guard needs to obtain a permit or license to carry a firearm.
For armed security guards, training is more comprehensive and strenuous. Along with training to use the weapon itself, guards should understand weapon safety and handling and the laws around when it’s permitted to use a weapon. However, unarmed security guard training may involve a less intensive training course.
To lessen liability risk, business owners should ensure their security teams are trained regularly to both meet regulations associated with the job and provide clients with reliable security services.
Different kinds of security equipment should be included on the premises and maintained to ensure it remains in working order. Some equipment, items, and personnel that may be investigated in a negligent security claim include:
- Security guards
- Motion detectors
If equipment is non-functional, broken, or lacking, negligence could be proven. Even an elaborate, well-maintained security system can be overcome by a skilled, motivated criminal, which can lead to liability concerns for business owners and security guards.
3. Property Protection
While homeowners commonly use fences for property protection, some business owners neglect to use them for their commercial properties. Fortunately, commercial security fences are available to provide additional security and privacy. This investment is typically long-lasting, so business owners can enjoy added protection for years.
4. Liability Insurance
Often, security guards face unique challenges and liabilities that may fall beyond the bounds of general liability insurance. Many businesses that employ security guards are vulnerable to hard-to-place risks that can increase contact with aggressive individuals, which is why specialty liability insurance is so valuable.
Some damages and losses from a negligent security claim may include:
- Lost income
- Medical costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Specialty coverage is crucial for security guards and security companies because they can end up in dangerous situations and come in contact with aggressive individuals. Those in the security guard industry may need the following coverage:
- Commercial general liability
- Commercial auto
- Property coverage
- Professional liability / errors and omissions coverage
- Alleged molestation and sexual abuse liability coverage
- Alleged assault and battery liability coverage
- And more
Specialty coverage can lower the risks for every party involved.
Prime Insurance Company has over 40 years of experience with providing the best insurance solutions for specialty risks. To learn more about Prime’s specialty coverage, contact us at 1-800-257-5590 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a quote click here.
Prime Insurance Company (“PIC”) is an unlicensed excess and surplus lines insurance company domiciled in the State of Illinois and its principal place of business is in Sandy, Utah. Full disclaimer at www.primeis.com/legal.