This blog has previously discussed some of the aspects of negligence claims against landowners in Connecticut. We have touched on the various statuses visitors or tenants can have, such as invitee, licensee and trespasser, and what duty a landlord or other property owner may have with regard to those individuals’ safety. However, safety does not only involve the basic slip and fall and the physical condition of the property itself. The actions of other people who are on the property may also affect the safety of people who are present for a lawful reason.
Very basically, a landowner has a duty to protect people upon his land from harm that may be foreseeable to the owner, even if that harm is perpetrated by another person. The most common example of this is a crime that occurs on the premises, such as a robbery or an assault. If a landowner was aware that this type of activity may happen, and did not take reasonably available steps to prevent it, he or she might be liable under a theory of negligent security.
It is important to note that these cases can become very complicated. What may or may not be foreseeable in terms of third party actions can be difficult to parse in many situations. Have other crimes of a similar nature happened previously in that same area? Are there crime grids available from law enforcement that give an idea of the frequency of certain types of crimes in the neighborhood of the property? Did the land owner take steps to prevent crimes by having proper lighting, good locks or requisite fencing or other barriers to keep criminals away from the property? Was the perpetrator of the crime him- or herself a licensee, invitee or trespasser? These questions, and more, may all bear on whether a land owner is liable for damages that occur due to a crime committed on the property.
Investigation into all these factors may be necessary in order for someone harmed on the property of another to recover for injuries suffered. Attempting to tease out the factors involved in such a case may often require someone with experience in the legal arena and who understands how Connecticut law applies to these types of premises liability situations.