Just recently my car was broken into in a store parking lot. The store is a nation-wide company. It happened at night and it didn’t seem to me like there was really much of any lighting in the parking lot. I also filed a police report and called the store to complain about the incident. I learned that several cars had actually been broken into in the week or so before it happened to me. I lost a laptop and several other items plus I had a broken out window. An expensive fix to say the least! Of course the police have no leads on who did this. Can I hold the store responsible?
This certainly is a frustrating situation and I am sorry you experienced it. It is possible to hold the store responsible under these circumstances. You could argue that the store was negligent in failing to take proper precautions to prevent this type of criminal action from occurring.
The fact that this had happened previously would certainly support your case. It would be worth finding out if there are police or other reports that verify the previous thefts. If indeed previous crimes had occurred in the parking lot, you could contend that this further indicated the need for proper lighting in this area.
It is also possible that the store has security cameras in place. There is the rare possibility that the police could use them to help catch the culprit. If no security cameras were present, it could further be argued that this was a necessary precaution as well.
If enough evidence exists, you may be able to show that the store was negligent by having improper security or failing to take preventative measures.
The problem with this case, however, is a practical one. Without minimizing your financial loss, the damage appears to probably be less than a $1,000.
Proving the case against the store would be difficult and could create a lengthy legal battle. The expense and time involved may make it prohibitive to pursue litigation against the store.
Most attorneys likely would not handle the matter on a contingency basis and an hourly rate by an attorney could quickly exceed any judgment that you might potentially win. Demonstrating the store’s negligence may even require expert witnesses to establish the standard of care with respect to preventing similar thefts.
Of course you could try pursuing the case on your own in small claims court but it would cost money just to file the case and it would take significant time and energy on your part to navigate the court system.
Thus, in essence, although there is a potential case against the store, it may simply not be worth pursuing. That said, I certainly encourage you to contact the store and try your hand at getting them to pay short of filing an actual court case. I would also suggest contacting your own insurance company to determine if you have coverage for your loss.