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Security guards are present at many of the venues that we frequent from day to day. The parameters of a security guard’s position, however, are not always clear. This can lead to ambiguity regarding their authority. Because of this, the question of what security guards can and can’t do is quite common. Understanding the authoritative role of security guards is key to avoiding unwanted or even unlawful encounters with such individuals. 

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At Wright and Gray, we provide high-quality personal injury counsel to our clients and strive to fully uphold the rights of our clients. There are many sides to personal injury, including unjust treatment from security guards. When considering what security guards can and can’t do, it is important to have a full understanding of their legal authorities. If you were involved in a questionable situation with a security guard and suffered injuries or losses, we may be able to help. Call us at 504-500-0000 to discuss your options today. 

Where Do Security Guards Get Their Power?

The first and most important questions to answer regarding a security guard’s role in enforcing the law are: what are their legal powers and where do these powers come from? This is not always clear, as security guards appear to have granted legal authority and, on occasion, exercise this authority by authorizing exit and entry from a location. Security guards are clearly not police, however, so where does their legal authority start and end?

In Louisiana, security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners, which provides for both armed and unarmed security guards. All security guards in the state are subject to Louisiana state law. In essence, security guards are contracted personnel. They are not law enforcement or police, rather they are civilians empowered by Louisiana state law and the company in which they are employed.

Essentially, security guards have the same authority as ordinary citizens. Clearly, however, they are able to exercise some authority to prevent crime. They are hired to prohibit crime, but if they have the same power as ordinary citizens, how are they able to prevent criminal activity? 

What Legal Authorities Do Security Guards Have?

Since they are not law enforcement, security guards do not have the legal ability to carry out full arrests, but they are able to detain individuals who are suspected of committing a crime. It is important to note that security guards do not have greater legal authority than a normal civilian. 

Security guards can make citizens arrest and detain individuals who have committed a crime. Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 215 discusses shoplifting specifically, stating that security officers can detain an individual who is suspected of shoplifting. This detention is not considered an arrest, however, but a security guard is able to use reasonable force to hold you for up to sixty minutes in such cases. 

Whenever a security guard detains an individual or makes a citizen’s arrest, they are legally required to turn the detained or arrested person over to a police officer. With this in mind, security guards do not have the legal authority to detain a person indefinitely. Moreover, they are not permitted to search your belongings without your consent. If the guard suspects that the individual is carrying a weapon, however, they are permitted to search and disarm the individual when making a citizen’s arrest.

Can Security Guards Use Force Or Weapons?

Under Louisiana law, security guards are authorized to use “reasonable force” when detaining an individual who is suspected of committing a crime. This definition is quite vague, however, leaving substantial room for question. What exactly is reasonable force? 

What constitutes reasonable force is not always clear, but generally it is assumed that reasonable force cannot include excessive physicality that results in harm. If the force that a security guard employs results in physical harm or injury, this may constitute an unlawful and unreasonable use of force under the law. Generally, the level of force goes hand in hand with the crime and the risk that the alleged criminal poses to others in the vicinity.  

It should be noted that some security guards are qualified to use weapons, including firearms. These armed security guards are subject to greater training measures than typical security personnel. In such cases, the armed security guard must comply with Louisiana state regulations regarding weapons, but they are allowed to use such weapons to help detain individuals who have allegedly committed criminal acts.

When Security Guards Violate the Law 

Under state law, security guards are not permitted to search an individual, unless they have reason to believe that the person is armed. They are not allowed to use excessive force and cannot escalate a situation beyond the lowest necessary response level. If a security guard has done any of the following, these actions can have serious legal consequences under Louisiana state law. 

If you are unsure of what a security can and can’t do or believe that you have been subjected to unlawful acts at the hand of a security guard, you may be able to seek legal recourse. Consider seeking professional legal assistance to confirm that the security guard acted unlawfully. Wright and Gray can help with such matters and ensure that your rights are upheld. 

Wright And Gray Can Help Determine What Security Guards Can And Can’t Do and if Your Rights Were Violated

If you were subjected to unlawful treatment by a security guard, you may be left with a plethora of questions regarding your legal rights. These issues are particularly difficult due to the ambiguous nature of the role of security guards. Many people are unsure of their rights when it comes to arresting and detention. Understanding what security guards can and can’t do is a great starting point. 

Wright and Gray is a leading Louisiana-based law firm that helps individuals navigate these issues and other personal injury matters. We believe in fair and just treatment under the law. No one should be intimidated or harmed by a security guard. Call us today at 504-500-0000 to discuss your options and learn how we can help you.

If you are involved in a harmful accident, the stress can be overwhelming. Even more so if the accident was not your fault but was rather caused by the negligence of another party. After managing any medical bills or emotional distress that resulted from the accident, you may be wondering if it is possible to receive compensation. This is a multi-faceted question, and a good place to start is by determining whether premises liability vs. personal liability laws will apply to help compensate the victim. 

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At Wright and Gray, we understand the frustration of being involved in an accident that was not your fault. Because of this, we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the compensation that they deserve. Let us leverage our years of experience in premises liability and personal liability to fight for you. Call us today at 504-500-0000 to get started.

What Is Personal Liability?

Personal liability involves the reckless actions of an individual that result in the wrongful injury or death of another person. Personal liability focuses on the person who hurt you, rather than place where the injury occurred. 

To put this into real-world context, imagine that a person is at a shopping complex. While they are browsing the shelves, another individual comes up and hits them with their shopping cart, causing the person to fall over and injure their head. The person who caused the accident did so because they were responding to a text message and not paying attention to who or what was in front of them. In this case, the person liable for this accident was the individual who hit the other with their cart. 

Alternatively, perhaps a caregiver is responsible for supervising another person’s child while they are at work. That caregiver has been given the duty of assuring the safety of the child. One day, the caregiver is distracted when the child wanders off to the pool, located in the backyard of the home. If the child falls into the pool and sustains any injuries, or even dies due to the incident, the caregiver can likely be held responsible due to personal liability. 

This is an example of personal liability – an accident that happened due to the negligence or reckless of another person. 

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability, on the other hand, refers to an accident that happens due to physical state of the location or building. This is the crux of personal liability vs. premises liability, as premises liability is concerned with where the injury occurred. 

Accidents that fall under premises liability occur because the property was not cared for and resulted in someone becoming injured. Louisiana Revised Statutes §2800.6 states that the owner of a property has the responsibility to “exercise reasonable care” to keep their aisles, passageways, and floors in safe condition as to prevent injury or death. 

Let us return briefly to the shopping complex example. Instead of being hit by a person’s shopping cart, the individual who was browsing the aisles trips over a faulty tile on the floor. This an example of premises liability, where the owner of the building did not maintain their floors properly, and a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property caused the individual to fall and injure themselves. 

Premises liability is not limited to faulty floors, however, and other factors may be present to substantiate premises liability, including: 

These are merely a few examples of instances that can result in premises liability accidents. In all of these situations, Louisiana courts will determine whether three specific criteria exist to prove a premises liability case.

Proving Premises Liability 

Louisiana Revised Statutes §2800.6 states that the person involved in the accident on someone’s property must prove that the following criteria were true to substantiate claims of premises liability:

If all three of these criteria can be proven, then a premises liability case may be viable. If you are wondering whether or not you have a premises liability case, an experienced attorney at Wright and Gray can help you understand all of your legal rights and options. 

What Damages Can I Claim in Personal Liability Vs. Premises Liability Cases?

Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 sets forth the damages that can be collected in these instances. Louisiana law cites a few types of compensation that an individual can collect in a liability case:

A person’s ability to collect different types of damages stems from the unique factors of their case. Every situation is different and therefore every compensation package will look different as well. Regardless, Louisiana law aims to protect individuals who were harmed due to the negligence of another person. 

Can An Attorney Help With Personal Liability Vs. Premises Liability Cases?

If you were harmed in an accident regarding personal liability or premises liability, an experienced attorney can help navigate your specific claim and determine whether you are eligible for compensation. Being harmed at the hands of another person or due to the failed maintenance of a property can be overwhelming, both emotionally and financially. 

Wright and Gray is a Louisiana law firm with years of experience in personal injury cases, both personal liability and premises liability. We understand how to navigate these difficult situations and help our clients receive the compensation that they deserve. If you or a loved one experienced injury or death at the hands of another person, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 504-500-0000 to begin the process of holding the right parties accountable.

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