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Are businesses liable for attacks on the property?

Premises liability is an important part of running a business. Business owners know that if there is a risk, they need to take the time to assess it and address it. That's why some businesses, like malls and theme parks, are starting to pay more to prevent attacks on their properties.

Can a property owner be held liable for an attack on customers if they aren't part of it?

In some cases, the property owner might be liable. For example, in a case of a shooting, if the property didn't have metal detectors or security to check individuals coming into a restaurant or theme park despite knowing that people could bring those dangerous items inside, then the property owner might be held liable. If you were shot by that person carrying a weapon on the property, then you could contact an attorney over the case, and it's likely you'd have a good chance in court.

Over the next few years, it's expected that major parks like Disneyland, SeaWorld and others will start using metal detectors to prevent people from carrying firearms into their facilities.

What can a business do to help prevent injuries from attacks?

The best thing to do is to prevent an attack altogether. That's what one mall group in Southern California does. The entire staff, from gardeners to hired security staff members, are trained in how to identify suspicious behavior. They have a system to communicate if a danger is present. This system keeps eyes and ears open all around the mall, making sure customers are put first and in a place that is secure. Other options might be to have dogs on the premises that can sniff out things like drugs or bombs; finding items that are potentially dangerous is as important as finding people.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Malls and theme parks pour money into preventing Orlando-style attacks," accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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