In establishing a negligent security case, from a practical perspective, the four primary considerations are: Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages. Although these are the primary considerations in virtually every negligence case, negligent security types of cases have their own unique considerations and manners of establishing these key elements. In general, the issue of “duty” is established, once it is determined who is in possession and control of the property, whether the injury occurred on-site or offsite, and the status of the visitor (invitee, licensee, or trespasser), by examining the “foreseeability” of injury.
Whether or not the duty was breached is established by examining if the security on the property was adequate, based upon the foreseeability of harm. The issue of causation is examined in light of whether or not the crime, itself, was “preventable” if security was adequate. Finally, once liability is established through these three criteria, the issue of damages raises independent considerations relating to both economic (for example, lost wages, lost earning capacity, past medical expenses, and future medical expectations) as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, or, in the case of wrongful death, mental anguish and loss of companionship, support, and services.