Can I Sue a Movie Theater for Negligent Security?

A movie theater can be liable to you if you sustained an injury on the premises because of the property owner’s failure to provide adequate security. Georgia law mandates that landowners must take reasonable measures to keep people safe while on their property and to prevent foreseeable attacks or assaults.

Required Elements to Prove Negligent Security at a Movie Theater

We have to prove all four of these factors to hold the movie theater responsible for your injuries:

  1. The movie theater (defendant) had a legal duty toward you (plaintiff). If you are on the premises legally as a customer, employee, vendor, or another lawful guest, the movie theater must take reasonable measures to keep the theater and its approaches safe. Approaches can include such things as sidewalks, entryways, parking lots, parking garages, and other approaches. Suppose people must walk through an alley to get from the overflow parking lot to the movie theater. The theater must provide reasonable security so that customers can walk safely from the cars to the theater.
  2. The movie theater breached its legal duty of care toward you. The theater failed in its legal duty toward you if it did not provide adequate security. If the company did not take reasonable measures, like installing bright lighting and security cameras and having security guards patrol the area, the theater was negligent. Negligence means that someone breached a legal duty.
  3. The movie theater’s negligent security caused your injury. If the theater’s failure to provide adequate security resulted in harm to you, the theater is liable. The theater refused to spend the money on bright lighting, security cameras, or guards. If someone assaulted you while you were walking through the alley between your car and the theater, the company’s negligence caused your harm.
  4. Adequate security would have prevented the crime. Property owners do not have to pay damages for every crime that happens on their premises. Georgia law recognizes that it is impossible to prevent every possible crime. The law does, however, require landowners to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes.

            It is foreseeable that a person could become a victim of crime while walking through a dark alley. Bright lighting, security cameras, and security guards are  reasonable security measures in this situation and could prevent crimes from happening. Since adequate security measures could have prevented the harm,  the movie theater is liable for the harm its negligent security caused.

What Negligent Security at a Movie Theater Can Look Like

Every case is different. What might be necessary for security in one neighborhood could be superfluous in another. With that in mind, it can be negligent security if a property owner fails to:

  • Provide and maintain sufficient lighting (replacing burned-out bulbs, having enough bright lights to illuminate the area and deter criminal activity)
  • Fix malfunctioning or damaged locks, doors, fences, gates, or alarm systems
  • Warn customers of foreseeable risks
  • Improve security measures after criminal events
  • Install security cameras where appropriate
  • Respond appropriately to incidents that would make a reasonable person have safety or security concerns

Foreseeability of Crime

If the movie theater is in a location that has a low crime rate, the law will impose less of a burden on the company to provide adequate security for patrons. Let’s say that the theater is in a suburb that historically has some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the entire state. The movie theater is ten years old and has no reported incidents of violent crime. Adequate security measure for that theater might be merely having adequate lighting and some security cameras.

On the other hand, a similar movie theater located in a high crime part of the city might have a history of many assaults, gang activity, robberies, and other crimes in the surrounding area. That theater will have to install a much higher level of security equipment and safety measures to satisfy the requirement of adequate security.

The movie theater in the city might have to install more security cameras, have a security guard to patrol the premises, and have someone monitor the live feed from the security cameras whenever the theater is open. If the theater does not provide the level of security that is reasonable for the circumstances, they can be guilty of negligent security, even if their security measures exceed those of other theaters in a safer neighborhood.

Getting Legal Help for Negligent Security at a Movie Theater

If you sustained an injury at a movie theater because of negligent security or you think the company failed to protect you from harm, you might be eligible for compensation. You do not have to investigate the facts or understand the legal theories that control this area of the law. A premises liability lawyer can do all of this for you.

We can explain your legal rights to you and answer your questions. To arrange your free consultation, call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838.