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Assaults and Improper Security: What Are Your Defense Options?

by | Sep 11, 2023 | Business Law

In today’s world, security is a paramount concern for businesses in Texas and across the United States. While businesses strive to create a safe environment for employees, customers, and visitors, unforeseen incidents such as assaults can occur. When they do, businesses must be prepared to protect themselves legally and financially.

If your business is facing legal challenges related to assaults and improper security, don’t wait to seek help. Protect your business and its interests by seeking the guidance of an experienced business lawyer in Texas. The team at Fahl & Donaldson, PLLC, is here to provide you with skilled legal counsel, tailored defense strategies, and the support you and your business need.

Legal Defenses Against Assault and Improper Security Claims in Texas

Assaults and incidents of improper security can take various forms, including physical altercations, theft, vandalism, or even cyberattacks. For businesses, these events can lead to significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liability.

While businesses may be held liable for assaults or improper security incidents on their premises, they also have legal defenses available to protect their interests. Here are some key defense options:

Assumption of Risk

Businesses can assert the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk associated with their actions or presence on the property. This defense is particularly relevant when the plaintiff had prior knowledge of potential security risks. For example, if a customer was informed of an area’s security concerns but chose to enter regardless, the business may argue the customer assumed the risk associated with that decision.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a defense that allows businesses to argue the plaintiff’s own negligence or carelessness contributed to the incident. In Texas, the proportion of fault is assigned to each party involved, and the plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced accordingly. For instance, if a customer disregarded warning signs and engaged in risky behavior that led to an assault, the business can claim the customer’s actions contributed to their injuries.

Lack of Causation

To successfully defend against liability, businesses can show their actions or omissions did not directly cause the incident in question. This defense hinges on demonstrating that the business’s negligence was not the primary factor in the assault or security breach. It may involve presenting evidence that other intervening factors or individuals were primarily responsible for the incident.

Third-Party Responsibility

Businesses can declare that the responsibility for the incident lies with a third party, such as an independent security contractor. If the security contractor failed to provide adequate security services or follow agreed-upon security protocols, the business may argue the third party’s negligence is the primary cause of the incident. This defense can shift liability away from the business and onto the responsible third party.

No Duty Owed

In some cases, businesses may argue they did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, which is a fundamental element in premises liability cases. This defense is relevant when the plaintiff’s presence on the property was not anticipated or authorized. For example, if an individual trespassed on the property or engaged in unauthorized activities, the business may contend it did not owe a duty of care to that person.

Safe Harbor Provision

Texas law provides a “Safe Harbor” provision for certain businesses, such as bars and restaurants, regarding alcohol-related incidents. If a business meets specific requirements, it may enjoy limited liability for injuries resulting from the actions of an intoxicated person on their premises. This provision can be a critical defense for businesses in the hospitality industry.

Compliance With Industry Standards

Businesses can argue they were in compliance with industry standards for security and safety. By demonstrating that they followed recognized security practices and took reasonable precautions, they can show they acted responsibly in protecting their patrons.

Protect Your Business After Assault or Improper Security Claims With a Texas Attorney

Are you a business in Texas facing legal challenges related to assaults or improper security incidents on your premises? Contact Fahl & Donaldson, PLLC, to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your business against legal and financial repercussions.

Call (346) 241-7355 or complete our contact form to learn more about how we can help.