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Business Liability for Criminal Conduct

Business OwnersAnyone owning a home or business property has some level of responsibility to keep his premises in a certain condition to protect others from harm while they are on the premises. When another person is injured on the premises, the owner may be liable for the person’s injuries depending on the circumstances of the injury, and the injured person’s relationship to the property owner. In some cases, injuries may be caused by the criminal conduct of third parties, especially at business premises. The duty of and liability imposed on a business owner in the event of the criminal actions of a third party may vary depending on the type of business operated.

Business Owners and Responsibility

Some business owners have a special relationship with their patrons under the law. For example, business owners who own restaurants, bars, or other similar establishments generally owe a duty to their patrons to keep them safe from reasonably foreseeable injury that results from third party criminal conduct. If a hotel or bar owner has knowledge of past criminal conduct on his premises, he should take steps to ensure that the conduct does not occur. The past criminal conduct does not have to be identical to make future criminal conduct legally foreseeable to the premises owner, any similar acts or other acts indicating violence can be used to show foreseeability.

The preventative steps a business owner may be required to take may include hiring guards, setting up security systems, or even providing more lighting in a dark parking lot. If the bar owner has received warning from a patron that a fight is about to ensue, or that someone is about to be attacked, he has to take steps to diffuse the threat of violence, by removing the dangerous patrons from the premises, requiring security to escort at-risk patrons to their cars, or by calling the police.

Business owners can also be liable for the criminal actions of their employees if they failed to take precautions when hiring the employee. If an employee has an extensive criminal record involving violent assaults, and the business owner did not adequately vet him before employing him to work directly with customers, the business owner may be found liable for any assaults the employee commits while on the business premises.

Reach Out to Us for Help

If you suffered injuries as a result of the criminal conduct of a third party, such as an assault, battery, or sexual assault, while at a restaurant, bar, hotel, or a store, you may have a claim against the business for compensation. For a free consultation, contact the passionate San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., serving Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Monterey County, Alameda County, San Benito County, and the Bay Area.

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