In many cases, yes. Las Vegas parking garages are an extension of the venues they are serving, such as hotels, casinos, or malls. The purpose of garages is to make it easier for customers to patronize businesses, and these patrons should expect a minimum level of security to protect them. If a person gets assaulted in a Las Vegas parking garage, the victim can argue that the venue was negligent under the Nevada theory of premises liability in providing adequate security.
Definition of negligent security in Nevada
The Nevada civil tort of "negligence" has four elements a plaintiff would need to prove in order to win a lawsuit:
- The defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The plaintiff breached this duty;
- The plantiff's breach was the cause of the defendant's injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages.
In the context of a parking garage, the owner of the garage and the security company patrolling the garage owe a duty to patrons to provide adequate security. If a patron gets assaulted in the garage and sues the venue and/or security company, the patron (plaintiff) would try to show that the venue's substandard security allowed for the assault to happen.
In determining whether negligence occurred, courts would look at the foreseeability as well as the preventability of the assault. Some of these factors may include:
- whether the venue provided security;
- what kind of security the venue provided, if any (surveillance cameras, good lighting, security guards, working locks, working gates, etc.);
- whether other assaults happened in the garage previously, which would have put the venue on notice about the possibility of assaults;
- what kind of neighborhood the garage is in; and
- what kind of patrons use the garage (such as casino gamblers who may be carrying thousands in cash)
Both the plaintiff and defendants may hire security experts to give testimony on what type of security, if any, is necessary in a certain garage location.
Potential defendants in Nevada negligent security lawsuits
Potential defendants in a Nevada personal injury suit following a garage assault include:
- The company that owns the parking garage,
- The manager of the parking garage,
- The security company patrolling the parking garage (if any), and
- The individual security guard(s) on duty (if any)
Even if a single security guard was at fault for allowing the assault to take place, plaintiffs are encouraged to sue the security company and owner of the garage as well. Presumably, these companies have much deeper pockets than the lone security guard(s) at fault. And in many cases, an employer can be liable for the negligence of its employees under the Nevada doctrine of respondeat superior.
Potential damages in Nevada negligent security lawsuits
Depending on the case, plaintiffs may be able to recover compensatory damages for:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- loss of future earnings,
- pain and suffering, and/or
- wrongful death (if the plaintiff died)
And if the court finds that the defendants acted maliciously or wantonly, the court may order punitive damages as well.
Statute of limitations in Nevada negligent security cases
Victims of Las Vegas parking garage assaults typically have two (2) years from the date of an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in Nevada.