Like other states, Washington law holds hotels, colleges and other properties responsible for their security measures.
In other words, depending on the circumstances a crime victim who gets attacked on another person’s property, including a hotel or campus, can seek compensation from the landowner for their injuries. Many times, this will be a victim’s only hope for receiving compensation, as those who commit crimes frequently do not have a lot of assets and may end up incarcerated.
Washington’s laws about negligent security are complicated
The idea behind negligent security developed as a part of premises liability. Basically, owners of hotels, college campuses and other buildings that are open or semi-open to the public have an obligation to keep their guests safe. This obligation extends to keeping guests and visitors safe from forseeable criminal activity.
This does not however mean that landowners have to anticipate and prevent all crimes. In order to build a successful negligence case, the victim will have to prove that the landowner knew or should have known about the possibility of criminal activity in the area For example, a business in a neighborhood with a high crime rate will be expected to take additional security measures.
Furthermore, businesses do not have to do everything possible to stop criminal activity. They must take reasonable measures. For instance, most motels and hotels should have rooms that tenants can lock at night, but most would not be expected to use armed guards.
In short, the victim of a negligent security claim will likely require help investigating the circumstances carefully, and determining what facts and circumstances can be used to prove a legal claim for damages.