The last element of a negligence action is damages, which means the Plaintiff must have suffered actual injury as a result of another’s actions. There are different types of damages. Economic damages are the actual, dollar amount of damages one incurs. For example, medical bills, repair invoices and loss of earnings are economic damages.

Non-economic damages are damages awarded for the pain and suffering of the injured party. These damages are not tied to any specific dollar amount, but must be reasonably tied to the injury alleged. [Note: Damages are discussed in further detail later in this module.]

A Word About Terrorist Acts And Negligence

The most common legal and liability concerns involving a security officer are wrongful detention, excessive use of force, unreasonable search, and failure to act reasonably in the performance of the duties. Unfortunately, now there is another category of concerns for the security professional arising from terrorist acts.

The security officer must now also be concerned about terrorist attacks in public locations: office buildings, shopping malls, airports, rail stations and other places where members of the general public congregate. Although the security officer cannot be liable for unforeseen criminal acts, Acts of War, or unprecedented terrorist attacks, the officer must be aware of such possibilities.

The possibility of a terrorist attack brings a new role for the security professional. There is heightened access control into buildings, diligent sign-in and sign-out sheets, careful checking of identification and access cards, a closer look at visitors and heightened requirements regarding escorting visitors.

The access control also requires thorough searches of personal property and the use of metal detectors. Security officers involved with parking access control must be aware of low riding vehicles and diligently tow abandoned vehicles. Watching for potential car and truck bombs or unattended packages are a concern for the patrolling officer. If your employer provides those types of security services, you must be sure that these tasks be done properly. This duty requires proper training for each task. Failure to do so could be deemed negligent.