Is a business in the Houston area liable for any injuries to a person, on its premises, caused by the criminal acts of another?
At first blush, the answer would appear to be “no” because how can a business be liable for the criminal conduct of another person?
If the offender is not found, the injured person has no legal remedy.
Does the business have any responsibility to its clients who are invited on its premises?
If the business owner knows that its customers have been injured on its premise, is this knowledge relevant as to the issue of liability?
A business has the responsibility, in keeping within accepted business standards to its customers requiring that its premises be safe from any defects or dangerous conditions, to have appropriate lighting and supervision on the premises.
Prior knowledge is always relevant and settles the question of the legal responsibility of the business. This responsibility is also heightened because the customers are invited.
But does this responsibility continue to the businesses parking lot? The answer is probably “yes” for any defects or dangerous conditions that exist in the businesses parking lot.
Is the business liable if its customers are attacked in the business lobby, inside the store or in the businesses parking lot?
The law has evolved in this area of premises liability.
The law of negligent security arose out of situations where people were attacked and injured on business premises when there was inadequate lighting, as an example. Initially, it was found that the business owner owed no duty to provide any security to the protect the public who had a legal right to be on the premises.
The law changes slowly and the law a negligent security, a subcategory of premises liability, was finally recognized by the judiciary as a viable theory of liability.
Negligent Security requires a business to provide adequate security for the premises when there was a legal duty to do so. Of course, the business owner has no criminal liability for the injury, only civil liability. Civil liability allows one to file a lawsuit against another person.