Negligent Security Claims In GeorgiaGeorgia Property Owners Owe a Duty to Keep Patrons Safe
In Georgia, property owners owe a duty to visitors to keep their property in safe from dangerous conditions, including crime. You may think that property owners cannot be held responsible for the actions of third party criminals, but that is not what Georgia law on negligent security says. Where there have been known dangerous crimes on a property and the property owner fails to take measures to adequately protect patrons, visitors, or other people who are allowed to be on the premises, the property owner may be held responsible for injuries sustained from crimes that happen on their property.
What Can a Georgia Property Owner Do to Protect You?
Examples of property owners who are often held liable for failing to property secure their premises include shopping malls, apartment complexes, parking lots/decks, and hotel/motel owners. Crimes that occur from lack of security on property include stabbings, shootings, rapes, mugging, and even killings. Obviously, property owners are not required to guarantee protection; they are simply required to take reasonable measures to ensure safety. Steps that property owners can take to protect their visitors (in the legal world, visitors have statuses ranking from invitee to licensee to trespasser. Trespassers generally cannot recover for personal injuries occurring on premises where they’re not allowed.) include:
- providing security guards or patrols on premises where crimes are known to occur;
- providing adequate lighting in areas that could be dangerous;
- providing surveillance of areas such as parking lots or parking decks where crimes are likely to occur; and,
- providing fencing/gating around areas that are known to be high crime.
How Do You Prove a Negligent Security Claim Against a Georgia Property Owner?
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime occurring on a business premises that should have some level of security in place for your protection, you may have a claim against the property owner. You should always report the crime to the property owner (and the police), so that the property owner knows about the incident. In fact, when investigating negligent security cases in Georgia, obtaining prior reports from property owners and the police provide information about whether the property owners knew that crime was an issue on their premises. Evidence of prior similar incidents is key in a Georgia inadequate security case because it shows knowledge of the problems on the part of the property owner.
Like any personal injury case in Georgia, a claimant seeking compensation from a property owner based on a negligent or inadequate security case must show a duty to protect, negligence, and causation of the injury/damages. The type of assault, the extent of your injuries, the level of negligence or inadequacy of security measures, whether additional security measure would have prevented the crime, and the number of prior similar crimes play a role in determining the value of your claim.
Proving a negligent security or inadequate security claim in Georgia is relatively complex and requires extensive investigation. If you believe that you have a negligent security claim, please call us at 404-593-2620 for a consultation with an Atlanta personal injury attorney.