If a person suffers because of an establishment’s failure to act affirmatively to protect the customer, the injured party may be able to recover compensation for damages [CC § 3281].One of the essential elements of a negligence cause of action is breach of a legal duty to act reasonably under the circumstances.  The law does impose a legal duty to affirmatively act (to protect someone else from danger or to control the conduct of a third person) if there is a “special relationship” between defendant and the person in danger or the third person creating the danger.

“Special relationships” rest on various grounds. Some are inherently “special”; others arise from a contract (written or oral) or from detrimental reliance on an express or implied promise (e.g., to provide protection); and still others are imposed by statute or regulation. Businesses, such as shopping centers, restaurants and bars, have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to secure their premises, as well as adjacent common areas within their control (e.g., parking lots), against reasonably foreseeable criminal acts of third parties. [Delgado v.Trax Bar & Grill]

To know more about a business’ liability for acts of third persons, consult with an attorney who is an expert in personal injury cases.

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