Yes, victims of crimes such as assaults, shootings, robberies, and rapes in Georgia may be able to sue property owners and operators where those crimes occur under the Georgia law of premises liability. Victims may also sue the assailants, but, when looking at a civil suit, suing a corporate owner or operator of a premises gives the victim a better chance for monetary recovery, as most individuals, particularly criminals, probably do not have assets with which to pay their victims.
Under Georgia law, owners and operators of businesses owe a duty of care to the keep their premises safe for visitors and customers. Where a business owner knows that there is a significant amount of violent crime on its property that could cause customers to be assaulted or even killed, a business owner is required to provide security or take measures to prevent such crimes. Where such a business owner fails to provide adequate security, and a violent crime, such as a shooting or a rape occurs on its property, the property owner may be civilly liable and be required to pay the victim for the crime, even if the criminal is totally unrelated to the property owner.
Places such as business parking lots, parking decks, bars, hotels, and gas stations can be high crime areas where adequate security is a must. Business owners who know about high crime on their property can make efforts such as providing well-trained security guards, controlled access, adequate lighting, fencing, warning signs, and security cameras.
This Georgia law extends to apartment complex owners as well. Where there is known criminal activity, apartment complexes are required to provide adequate security, such as working security gates, security cameras, security patrol, adequate lighting, working locks, and fencing around the complex in order to keep the premises safe for tenants and their visitors. How is an apartment complex supposed to know if a crime committed by a third person is going to occur? The crime only has to be foreseeable based on past occurrences, or even based on a tenant reporting criminal activity for the apartment complex to be held liable for an assault or other violent crime against visitors and tenants.
Our firm represents victims of violent shootings, stabbings, assaults, and other crimes. Some of our clients include shooting victims who were eating in a restaurant, a victim of an assault at a concert, and a victim of a gas station shooting. When evaluating a negligent security case, we inspect the property, talk to witnesses, obtain video footage, and investigate past crimes in order to determine whether there is a viable case against the property owner. We treat each case seriously and know that the thorough investigation of each case is vital to finding fault against negligent property owners who allow their premises to be unsafe for visitors and customers. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime in Georgia and would like to speak to an attorney about your case, please call Betty Nguyen Davis.