Erik Luthens


Criminals are not usually employees of commercial tenants or property owners. Assaults and robberies occurring in places of business or apartment complexes are often unknown. If they are known, victims rarely are able to recover damages from them because they are not known, have escaped prosecution, or do not have the means of repayment. Victims often turn to property owners or landlords for compensation. If the owner was found to fail in providing protection, such as not replacing burned out lights or providing sufficient security, there is a possibility they are liable, even if they had no control over the assailant. Contact a Iowa premises liability attorney representing clients in Newton, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.

Anticipation of Criminal Acts

It is impossible to predict every criminal attack. Owners and landlords are not able to insure invitees or others from every possible criminal act, yet there are precautions that owners and landlords may us to discourage criminals. Ordinary care must be taken to provide protection from harm. Previous criminal acts on an owner or landlord's property provide insight to find ways of preventing similar crimes. The courts examine these prior criminal activities to establish the predictability of the criminal act causing the current suit they are reviewing. If this act is significantly similar to previous criminal acts on the owner or landlord's property, and a reasonable security measure could have been in force to prevent the risk of reoccurrence was not acted upon, there is a high possibility the owner or landlord may be liable for damages.

Courts review all factors of the crime in question with previous incidents. The relativity they have to each other includes the location and nature of each, as well as other factors that would indicate a possibility of prevention. Although they do not have to be identical, there needs to be sufficient evidence that shows that owner should have been alerted to the fact that precautionary measures needed to be taken. Owners are often not held liable if similar incidents have not occurred on their property. Juries are normally used to determine liability in these types of cases. Due to the various laws in each state, it is wise to seek counsel from an experienced Premises Liability attorney if you have been a victim of a crime.

Failure to Act

Knowing of the presence of possible danger and failing to remove the threat, may indicate the owner or landlord is liable. Threats of these types include intoxicated or drug influenced persons, someone causing a public disturbance by relaying threats, and allowing previous offenders to return to the property. If there is a history of tenant aggression and the tenant has not been evicted, or other action has been taken to remove the threat, an owner may be liable for that tenant's assault. Owners are not responsible for knowing that a tenant is frequently mean, verbally abusing a spouse or children, as this may not indicate a violent nature of the tenant. If the owner or landlord employs security guards, they may be liable if the security officers fail to reasonably execute their duties.

No Liability Situations

Taking personal risk by putting oneself in danger relieves owners of liability. Knowingly sitting alone outside in a known high crime area, engaging in physical altercations (such as in parks or nightclubs), or being injured by someone you know are examples of this. Employees may not seek compensation if they are the victim of an attack from someone they know, as the act was not random, nor related to employment. Other unpredictable events, such as drive-by shootings, are not cases where owners or landlords are held liable.

Des Moines personal injury lawyer, attorney Newton, IA, elevator / swimming pool accident law firm - If you would like to schedule a initial consultation regarding your case, please contact the Luthens Law Offices at (800) 685-7948 or complete our inquiry form.