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Is a business responsible for a crime on its premises?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Victims of Violent Crime

People in Washington become the victims of crime every day, often while doing something banal like stopping at the corner store. Seeking justice can be complex. Although the crime is unquestionably the responsibility of the criminal involved, there are sometimes other parties with partial responsibility for criminal activity. 

For example, if the crime occurred on a business’s premises, whether it happens in their stock room or in an unlit parking lot, the victim of the crime could potentially have grounds to bring a premises liability claim against the business or commercial property owner. 

When is the crime partially the fault of a business?

Obviously, a dance club doesn’t want a sexual assault to occur in its bathroom, and a liquor store doesn’t want its customers to get mugged in the parking lot. However, they may not take any active steps to prevent what are reasonably foreseeable crimes. 

High levels of foot traffic, high local crime rates and criminal activity commonly associated with a business’s goods or services all make certain kinds of crime predictable. While there is no guarantee that these crimes might occur, a business could reasonably foresee the risk of a drunken assault or fistfight. 

They can protect themselves from liability and their customers from trauma by investing in security professionals, cameras and adequate lighting. When the victim of a crime has reason to believe that property owners could have prevented the crime, they may have grounds for a premises liability claim against the business. 

Understanding your rights as the victim of a criminal act can help you get some justice and fair compensation for what you have endured.