If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!

After an accident resulting in serious or fatal injuries you and your family may have questions about what to do next. Do I have to take my claim to personal injury court? Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company? How much money is in a fair settlement? Who can give qualified advice on how to win your personal injury claim? For answers to these questions and more, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help.

At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.

When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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  • Do Insurance Adjusters Have a Right to Use What I Post on Twitter Against Me?

    Yes, an insurance adjuster can probably use the things that you post on Twitter or other social media accounts against you. If the insurance company can authenticate the account, the courts will likely allow the insurer to use your postings if they are relevant to your case.

    A savvy insurance adjuster will likely check out your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts when reviewing the details of your case. The adjuster or insurance defense attorney might even look at social network accounts you forgot that you had.

    Expectation of Privacy

    When people post things on social media, there is little expectation of privacy. Your post could “go viral” at any time, and millions of people could view it. Even if you are careful about your privacy settings and limit who can see your postings, the people who do see it could share it with others, who could send it on to more people, and so on.

    There Is No Such Thing as Deleted

    Once you upload or type something online, the item or information is no longer under your control. Let’s say that you posted an embarrassing photo, then deleted it the next day after realizing that posting it was a mistake.

    It is extremely difficult to delete that picture from the Internet entirely. Even if you remove it from your social media accounts, it may still exist on the hard drive of anyone who saw it, in the cloud, or on the social media service’s backup server.

    Anyone who viewed the photo could have downloaded it or taken a screenshot. That person could then share the photo with others without any input from you. It is important to never post anything you would not be comfortable being broadly seen.

    Out of Context

    An insurance adjuster can take your social media posts out of context and use them to justify paying you less money for your accident claim. Here are a few examples:

    • While stuck at home and bored during recuperation, you post a photo of yourself running a marathon a week before your accident. The upload does not state that the photo was before your injury – it only gives the date on which you uploaded the item. The adjuster will use the photo and upload date to claim that you were running marathons after the accident, so you must be faking your injuries.
    • You post a joking or self-deprecating comment about the wreck, like calling yourself clumsy or describing your significant injuries as “a little boo-boo.” The adjuster will claim that you are lying about the severity of the injuries or that you admitted being at fault in the wreck.
    • The insurance company’s defense lawyer can paint a negative portrait of you to the jury by using unrelated information harvested from your social media accounts. For example, comments or photos about drug or alcohol use can make the jury less sympathetic toward you. Also, it can cause problems if you “like” or “follow” certain inflammatory organizations or celebrities.

    Things that seem innocent or personal could come back to reduce the settlement value of your case. Talk with your lawyer about what you should and should not post on social media.

    The Bottom Line

    If you have suffered an injury in an accident, the best practice is to stay off social media until after the case. An insurance adjuster has a right to use what you post and may twist it into something you never intended.

    For example, because an old friend visited you while you were recuperating from extensive injuries, you might post “Having a wonderful day.” The adjuster might claim that you were feeling fine and deny pain and suffering damages from that point forward.

    Georgia law allows parties to a lawsuit to obtain almost anything that is relevant to your lawsuit through the discovery process, even if they could not use the item in court. The insurance company can get a treasure trove of information from social media since many people let their guard down when posting.

    How to Navigate Social Media During Your Accident Claim or Lawsuit

    The earlier you talk with your lawyer about how social media can affect your case, the better. Your personal injury attorney can advise you about what, if anything, to post. Many people deactivate their social media accounts while they have a pending accident claim, but we can explain the rules that control these cases.

    At S. Burke Law, we can answer your questions about social media and your injury case. Just call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation.

  • Can I Sue an Amusement Park for Negligent Security?

    Under Georgia law, property owners must take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable attacks or assaults and to keep people safe on their property. This means that an amusement park can be held responsible for the injuries you suffer on its property if the landowner failed to provide sufficient security to prevent them.

    Factors for Proving Negligent Security at an Amusement Park

    There are four elements to holding the amusement park liable for negligent security:

    1. The amusement park had a legal duty toward you. The company has a legal duty to take reasonable measures to keep the park and its approaches safe for its guests. This legal duty also extends to employees, vendors, and other individuals who are on the grounds for a legal purpose, such as to read the electric or water meter.

    If an amusement park experienced several incidents of assaults happening in its arcades, for example, it would have an obligation to provide reasonable security in those areas to prevent future assaults.

    2. The amusement park violated its legal duty. If the amusement park did not provide sufficient security, it breached its duty to you.

    Reasonable measures to prevent assaults in an arcade could include:

    • Installing security cameras in the area.
    • Posting signs in the arcade that notify patrons of the rules, which might include warnings against horseplay, roughhousing, physical confrontations, and assaults. The signs should also warn people that violating the rules will result in prosecution.
    • Assigning security guards to the arcade and surrounding area.
    • Immediately removing rule-breakers from the park.
    • Banning people who engage in assaults from future entry to the park.
    • Exploring whether changes in the location, layout, and configuration of the arcade would help deter future assaults.

    If the amusement park fails to take enough reasonable measures, it could be considered negligent.

    3. The negligent security at the amusement park caused your injury. Negligence by itself does not subject the park to liability, but when the company’s negligence causes an injury, the landowner is responsible. If someone assaulted you because of the park’s failure to provide adequate security, the park could be liable.

    4. Adequate security would have prevented the crime. It is impossible to prevent every crime, but Georgia law requires property owners to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable crimes. If assaults continue to occur in the arcade, for example, the amusement park could be held liable for failing to prevent these foreseeable crimes by improving its security in and around the area.

    Damages for Injuries from Negligent Security at an Amusement Park

    When you get hurt because of an amusement park’s negligent security, you may be eligible to recover damages that include:

    • Medical expenses. This can cover your ambulance, emergency room, doctors, hospital, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and all other reasonable medical care needed as a result of your injuries.
    • Lost wages. If you missed work because of your injuries and recuperation, you may be able to recover the income you lost.
    • Decreased earning potential. A significant injury may impact your future earnings over the course of your life. If you must take a lower-paying job because of your injury, you may be able to recover the difference between your previous and your current earning capacity.
    • Pain and suffering. Simply paying a person’s medical bills does not compensate them for the physical pain, mental distress, and inconvenience suffered as a result of their injury. Calculating pain and suffering damages can help address that deficit.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life. Victims of violent crime often face a lifetime of psychological ramifications from the trauma. Many people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can harm personal relationships and make employment and social interaction difficult. Physical injuries can also cause you to be unable to do things that you enjoyed before, like walking or hiking.

    How to Get Help for an Injury from an Amusement Park’s Negligent Security

    If an amusement park failed in its legal duty to protect you from foreseeable harm and this negligent security caused your injury, you might be eligible for compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to schedule your free consultation. We know how to win a negligent security case. We will answer your questions and tell you if you might have a case against the amusement park.

  • What is Loss of Consortium?

    When a person gets injured or killed in an accident, the spouse and family can also suffer losses of their own. The purpose of loss of consortium claims is to compensate people close to the person who got hurt for the damages they experienced because of their loved one’s serious injury or death.

    What Loss of Consortium Means

    If a person recovers from an injury without long-term impairment, she can go back to the role she had in the family before the accident. With permanent impairment or death, the injured person might not be able to provide the family with the previous level of:

    • Companionship
    • Love or affection
    • Comfort
    • Social interaction
    • Sexual relations

    Loss of these things may constitute loss of consortium, for which the spouse, children, and other family members may recover compensation.

    Physical Injury Required

    If the injured person did not sustain a physical injury, there is usually no loss of consortium claim for the spouse or family. For example, the innocent driver in a road rage incident experienced extreme terror during the event but managed to escape without physical injury. The spouse of the innocent driver cannot file a claim for loss of consortium.

    On the other hand, if the innocent driver sustained catastrophic physical injuries in a car accident that adversely affected her relationship with her spouse, the spouse might have a valid claim for loss of consortium.

    What Kinds of Injury Cases May Include Loss of Consortium Claims

    Permanent impairment. For example, a newlywed sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Because of her injury, she experienced permanent locked-in syndrome, unable to move or communicate. She was aware and awake, but unable to interact.

    She has lost the kind of life she would have had, and so has her spouse, who lost the love, affection, and companionship of his wife. Her husband has a claim for loss of consortium.

    Death. For example, a father of school-aged children died in a car accident. His wife lost her life companion and partner. The children lost the guidance and comfort of their father. The spouse and children may be wrongful death beneficiaries with a claim for loss of consortium.

    How Georgia Law Calculates Loss of Consortium

    If a case goes to trial, the judge or jury will decide how much the family has lost as a result of the physical harm and impairment or death. The judge or jury has discretion on this issue, but sometimes lawyers use expert witnesses to explain to the judge or jury the justification for awarding a particular dollar amount.

    How to Determine if You Have a Loss of Consortium Claim

    The good news is that you do not have to figure out whether you have a possible claim for loss of consortium for your spouse’s injury on your own. Just call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. We will answer your questions about loss of consortium claims and help you pursue compensation. There is no charge for the consultation and no obligation.

  • What Happens If I Was in a Car Accident on the Way to Work?

    If you were in a car accident on the way to work, you likely have questions about who must pay for your losses. You might wonder if your boss has any responsibility for the damages or whether you will have to shoulder these expenses all on your own.

    Sometimes another driver causes the wreck. You need to know whether that negligence lets your employer off the hook or if you can make a claim for compensation against both the at-fault driver and your boss. In general, Georgia’s “going and coming” rule says that your company does not have to pay your damages if you have a crash during your commute. There are, however, some exceptions to note.

    When a Boss Is Liable for Employees’ Car Accidents

    These cases are fact-driven, meaning that the circumstances of your accident will determine whether your employer will have to pay you compensation for losses such as medical bills or lost wages. These are some of the situations in which a company can have liability for an employee’s crash on the way to work:

    The employee was performing a task for the employer. Let’s say that you work for a home remodeling company, and your boss asked you to pick up something from the hardware store on your way to the job site.

    If you experienced a crash on your way to the hardware store or on your subsequent trip to the job site, your employer can be responsible for your injuries. You would not have been there but for the boss directing you to go to the hardware store for job-related items.

    Multiple job sites rather than one fixed location. Your employer can be liable for your collision damages if your work requires you to travel to multiple locations during the day and your crash happened on the way to a job location. For example, if you are an electrician and you go to various buildings throughout your shift making repairs and doing installations, the employer can have liability when you are on your way to a job site.

    Traveling on business. When you are on the road as part of your job, such as attending a conference or going to a meeting out of town, your boss can be responsible during your entire trip.

    Driving a company car. Your employer is usually responsible for your injuries if you had a collision while you were operating a company car.

    Driving is an essential component of your job description. Some workers spend much of their shifts operating vehicles. Examples of these workers include cab and bus drivers, delivery personnel, and other people whose jobs involve a significant amount of regular travel. The boss is usually responsible for the employee’s injuries in these situations.

    What Happens if You Were Also Negligent?

    In some circumstances, your mistakes can reduce the amount of money you can receive as compensation for your injuries. We will explain this legal concept, called comparative negligence, when we meet with you.

    Getting Legal Help for Your Car Accident On The Way To Work

    There is no need for you to figure out these legal issues because we can handle the legal components for our clients. Just meet with us, and we will evaluate your situation and let you know who might be liable for your injuries. You can set up your free consultation by calling S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.

  • What Happens If I Was Hit by a Company Vehicle?

    If you were hit by a company vehicle, you need to know who is liable to compensate you. Depending on the facts of your case, the company or a third party might be responsible for your losses.

    Our personal injury law firm evaluates these scenarios on a case-by-case basis and can walk you through that analysis when we discuss your injury claim.

    When a Boss Is Liable for a Company Vehicle Hitting an Employee

    These injuries are usually matters for workers compensation benefits. In the state of Georgia, workers compensation is defined as:

                “a benefits program created by state law that provides medical,

                rehabilitative, income, death and other benefits to employees and

                dependents due to injury, illness and death resulting from a

                compensable work-related claim covered by the law.”

    If a company vehicle struck you while you were performing your job duties during your work hours, under Georgia law your injuries would constitute a compensable claim. You will have to follow the strict regulations about:

    • Quickly reporting the incident to your employer
    • Getting treatment from an authorized treating physician
    • Cooperating with your employer and the approved physician to get medical evaluations, treatment, rehabilitative services, and claim investigation.

    You can receive free medical care and cash disability benefits to replace a portion of your regular income through workers compensation.

    When Workers Compensation Does Not Cover an Employee Hit by a Company Vehicle

    Workers compensation in Georgia only covers you for injuries you sustain while working. If the company car strikes you while you are on your lunch or other breaks, workers compensation will not pay you benefits. In a situation like this, you will have to look to other sources for compensation, such as:

    The driver of the company vehicle. Let’s say that the company truck hit you because the driver was texting someone on her cell phone while operating the vehicle. The driver’s negligence from texting while driving caused your injuries, so she can be liable to you for damages.

    The company. The employer can have responsibility under a couple of legal theories, including negligence. Examples of negligence include:

    • Negligent hiring for failing to perform an adequate background check on the driver, if that research would have discovered information that the driver had been careless with company vehicles in the past
    • Negligent supervision if the firm did not create and enforce a policy that prohibited employees from texting while driving company vehicles
    • Negligent training if the company did not train drivers on the safe operation of company vehicles.

    An employer can also be liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which states that an employer can be liable for some of the acts of its employees. For example, but for the boss putting the driver in the position of operating the company vehicle, you would not have sustained the injury.

    How We Prove Negligence

    There are four factors to negligence, and we have to prove each one to win a lawsuit in which we allege that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The four facets are:

    1. The defendant had a legal duty toward you. Like all drivers, the driver of the company vehicle had a duty to operate the truck with caution.
    2. The defendant breached her duty toward you. Breach of a legal duty of care is negligence. The defendant violated her duty of care by texting while behind the wheel.
    3. The negligence caused your injury. The defendant’s negligence caused the company truck to hit and injure you.
    4. You suffered measurable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Physical injuries are measurable in that we can calculate the damages in dollars. Your medical bills will be proof of your quantifiable damages.

    What Happens If You Were Partly to Blame

    Let’s say that you were somewhat at fault in the accident. For instance, perhaps you were in an “out-of-bounds” area on the job site when you were hit by a company truck. Although the driver’s negligence in texting while behind the wheel was the primary cause of the wreck, the judge assessed 10 percent of the responsibility for the accident to you for being in the wrong place.

    Do not worry – you can still recover compensation for your damages as the rule of comparative negligence is applied in Georgia. This law deducts an amount equal to your proportion of the total negligence, and you get to collect the remaining award. For example, if your losses were $200,000, your 10 percent of the negligence will reduce your compensation by 10 percent, which is $20,000. You can recover $180,000.

    Getting Legal Help After a Company Vehicle Strikes You

    You might have several different legal options if a company vehicle hit and injured you, but you do not have to figure out this issue by yourself. The team at S. Burke Law will evaluate your case you can focus on getting well. Call us at 404-842-7838 to arrange a time to discuss your case. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.

  • What Happens If I Was in a Car Accident While on the Job Clock?

    If you were in a car accident while on the clock, you probably have questions about who will pay your losses if you sustained injuries. You might think that your boss is automatically responsible for all your damages, but in some situations, both your employer and third parties share the liability. In other situations, third parties alone must compensate you.

    When an Employer Is Liable for Car Accidents of Employees

    Your employer’s liability will depend on the facts of your individual case, but companies are often liable for the losses of employees when they get into collisions during a work shift. Here are some examples of when your employer will be liable:

    • Your job is to drive a delivery truck, and you get into a wreck while making deliveries for your company.
    • You are installing appliances at houses throughout the day, and your wreck happens when you are driving from one installation location to the next.
    • You are on a business trip attending a convention in another city. You get into a car accident while on this business travel.
    • You are driving the company car when you collide with another vehicle.

    When an Employer Might Not Be Liable for Car Accidents of Employees

    There are some situations in which your boss might not have to pay for your car accident damages even if the accident happened during your ordinary work hours. Here are a few:

    • An employee is supposed to be at work, but she leaves the job site without permission, goes to a bar, drinks alcoholic beverages while there, and then gets into a wreck.
    • An employee is delivering a package for the boss, but on the way, leaves the intended route to go to the casino and has a crash while driving to the casino.
    • An employee intentionally crashes a vehicle.

    A car accident lawyer can determine fault and help you recover damages caused by your accident.

    Other Parties Who Can Be Liable

    Whether your boss is responsible for your injuries or not, sometimes, depending on the facts of the situation, other people can have to pay compensation for your damages. Here are some examples:

    • You were riding the company shuttle from the parking lot to the hospital where you work. On the way, the shuttle driver, who was intoxicated, crashed into a tree. In addition to seeking damages from your employer, you can also pursue compensation from the shuttle driver for his negligence in driving while under the influence of alcohol.
    • You drive a delivery truck. While making your usual rounds, another driver ran a red light and t-boned your delivery truck. Both your employer and the negligent driver can be liable for your damages.
    • You are driving a company car. The brakes failed, causing you to plow into a building. The party whose negligence is to blame for the faulty brakes can be liable for your damages. The third party could be the company mechanic who maintained the company fleet, the installer of the brakes, or the brake manufacturer.

    Elements of Negligence

    If we are to seek compensation from someone other than your employer, we must demonstrate that their negligence led to your injuries. Negligence has four elements, all of which we must prove to hold someone liable:

    • Duty of care. The defendant must have had a duty of care toward you. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles cautiously. In the example of the shuttle bus crash, the driver had a duty to be sober when at the wheel.
    • Breach of the duty of care. Negligence is when a person violates a duty of care toward you. When the driver drove while drunk, he violated his duty of care.
    • Causation. The negligence must be a cause of your injuries. Since the driver’s intoxicated state caused the smash-up in which you got hurt, the facts satisfy the causation element.
    • Measurable damages. If you suffered physical injuries in the wreck, you satisfy this final element of damages. In addition, having physical damages opens the opportunity to claim non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

    What Happens if You Were Also Negligent?

    In many crashes, more than one person made a mistake that led up to the wreck. If you were partly to blame for the car accident, you can still recover some of your damages. Georgia follows the law of comparative negligence, which allows you to collect compensation, but reduces it to account for the percentage of your fault.

    Let’s say that your damages were $100,000 from an accident. If the judge found you to be 10 percent at fault, you could still get $90,000 for your losses, after the law deducts your proportion of the total negligence.

    How to Get Help for a Car Accident That Happened During Work Hours

    You might have questions about who is responsible for your injuries if you got hurt in a car accident during your workday. The team at S. Burke Law will be happy to answer your questions and explain your right to compensation. Just call us at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you win.

  • Are Negligent Security Cases Hard to Win?

    You can win a negligent security case if you can prove all four elements of negligent security as required under Georgia law. In Georgia, property owners must take reasonable measures to keep people safe on their premises and to prevent foreseeable assaults and attacks. If you get hurt because a landowner failed to provide adequate security, the property owner can be liable for your injuries.

    Elements of Negligent Security

    Georgia law requires that we prove all four of these factors to hold a property owner responsible for negligent security:

    1. The landowner (defendant) had a legal duty toward the injured person (plaintiff). Property owners must take reasonable measures to keep their premises and its approaches safe for people who enter the premises lawfully. Approaches can include things like sidewalks, parking lots, parking garages, and entryways. A landowner has no duty to keep the premises safe for trespassers. Let’s say that a shopping center has had a problem with purse snatchers. The center must provide reasonable security so that customers can shop, enter and exit the center, and safely walk to and from their cars without someone stealing their handbags.
    2. The defendant failed in its legal duty to provide adequate security. If the landowner did not provide adequate security for the circumstances, it violated its duty of care. It is negligence to breach a legal duty. If the shopping center failed to take reasonable measures to protect patrons from theft, the company is guilty of negligent security. Reasonable measures could include things like installing security cameras, posting signs to warn shoppers, and hiring security guards.
    3. The shopping center’s negligent security caused the injury. If the company was negligent, but no one got hurt, the “no harm, no foul” rule will apply. On the other hand, if the center’s negligent security resulted in harm to someone, the facts satisfy the causation element of negligent security. For example, imagine that the shopping center did not take adequate security measures appropriate for the situation. A shopper was on their way to the center’s main entrance when a thief grabbed her bag. The shopper fought back, but the thug pushed her down to the ground and ran away with the purse. The shopper sustained a broken arm. The center’s negligent security caused the injury.
    4. Adequate security would have prevented the harm. Property owners in Georgia are not responsible for every crime that takes place on their premises, but they do have to put in place reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crime. If adequate security would have prevented the harm, the landowner is liable.  Having security guards, installing security cameras, and posting warning signs     for shoppers are reasonable security measures at a shopping center with a history of purse-snatching. Taking reasonable security measures could have prevented the crime, so failure to take reasonable measures makes the center liable.

    What Can Constitute Negligent Security                             

    Many factors will control the level of security needed at any given location. These considerations can include things like:

    • The neighborhood
    • The history of crime on the premises and in the surrounding area
    • Recent changes in criminal activity
    • Other known risks or security factors

    With those issues in mind, it can be negligent security if a property owner does not:

    • Warn visitors of foreseeable dangers
    • Respond appropriately to warnings, threats, or other facts that would give a reasonable person concern for safety
    • Provide adequate lighting
    • Fix broken or faulty fences, gates, windows, doors, locks, or alarm systems
    • Improve security measures after a criminal event
    • Install security cameras where needed for safety

    Preventability and Foreseeability

    Even though it is impossible to prevent every crime, a landowner must try to protect people on the premises. If a property owner does not lift a finger or spend any money on reasonable measures to keep people safe, Georgia courts will be likely to impose liability on the owner when people get hurt.

    Callous disregard for the safety of others, mainly when those people are your customers or business guests, can expose a company to liability. When people get hurt because a corporation puts profits ahead of people, juries can punish the company financially.

    It is important to remember that the harm must be foreseeable. In other words, if a business is in an area with a meager crime rate, the burden to provide security will be lower than for a company in a high crime area, because one would expect criminal activity in a place with high rates of crime.

    How to Protect Your Right to Compensation for a Negligent Security Injury Claim

    Taking on a company that failed to keep you safe can be daunting, call the team at S. Burke Law to have a premises liability lawyer on your side. We can explore the facts, determine who is liable, gather the evidence to build your case, deal with the insurance company, and file a lawsuit for your losses.

    Call 404-842-7838 today, to arrange your free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.

  • 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.

  • Can I Sue a Hotel for Negligent Security?

    If you get hurt because a hotel failed to prevent foreseeable assaults or attacks or did not take reasonable measures to keep you safe while you were on their premises, the property owner can be liable. Georgia law dictates that landowners are liable to people who sustain injuries as a result of the failure to provide adequate security.

    The Elements of Negligent Security

    We have to prove all four of these factors to hold a hotel responsible for your injuries from negligent security:

    1. The hotel (defendant) owed you (plaintiff) a legal duty of care. If you were present on the premises for a lawful purpose as a hotel guest, visitor, vendor, employee, or for another allowed reason, the hotel owner has to take measures to keep the hotel and approaches (sidewalks, entryways, parking garages, parking lots, and other approaches) reasonably safe. The hotel has no such duty toward trespassers. Suppose that the hotel is in a downtown area known for random muggings. The hotel must provide reasonable security so that the guests can safely enter and leave the hotel and be free from assaults while in the hotel, parking garage, and parking lot.
    2. The defendant hotel failed in its legal duty toward you. If the hotel did not provide adequate security for the circumstances, it breached its duty toward you. Breach of a legal duty is negligence. If the hotel failed, for example, to install security cameras in high-risk areas in and around the hotel or failed to have working locks on the hotel guest room doors, the hotel is guilty of negligent security.
    3. The hotel’s negligent security caused harm to you. Mere negligence without harm does not make a case for compensation, but if the hotel’s failure to provide adequate security resulted in harm to you, the hotel is liable. Let’s say that the hotel knew that its guest room doors did not lock, despite exhibiting red or green lights when a person used a key card. The hotel decided to wait to buy and install new door locks. In the meantime, an intruder entered a guest room and assaulted someone staying in the hotel. The hotel’s negligence caused the harm, satisfying the causation element of negligent security.
    4. Adequate security would have prevented the crime. Georgia law does not charge property owners with preventing every crime on their premises. Some crime is not preventable. If adequate security would have prevented the harm to the plaintiff, the hotel is liable.

                Having functioning door locks on the guest rooms would have prevented the intruder from being able to walk right into the room and assault the guest. Working door locks are reasonable security measures at a hotel. Since appropriate security would have prevented the crime, the hotel is liable.

    Examples of Negligent Security at a Hotel

    The facts of each case are different, but general principles can apply in many situations at hotels. A hotel can be liable to people who suffered harm as a result of criminal activity if the hotel failed to:

    • Install security cameras after criminal activity
    • Provide and maintain bright lighting in and around the hotel and approaches
    • Repair broken or damaged security equipment and doors, locks, fences, gates, and alarms
    • Warn people of foreseeable dangers
    • Upgrade existing security (like hiring security guards) after criminal activity
    • Respond appropriately to any facts that would give a reasonable person concern about safety

    Foreseeability Determines What Security Measures Are Adequate

    Every negligent security case is unique because every situation varies. Measures that might be more than adequate at one hotel could be insufficient at another. We cannot say without talking to you about the facts of your incident whether the hotel provided sufficient security. The law will require the hotel to provide the level of protection that is reasonable and adequate for the circumstances.

    A hotel in an upscale resort community with almost no violent crime may only need to provide bright lighting and some security cameras to protect patrons from harm. Another hotel in the same hospitality chain might need several security guards, exterior doors that only open with a room key, many more security cameras, and a security professional constantly monitoring the live feed from the security cameras.

    How to Get Legal Help for an Injury from Negligent Security at a Hotel

    If you got hurt because a hotel failed to keep you safe, the company might have to pay you money for the harm you suffered. Do not worry – you do not have to figure out who is liable or wade through the legal issues. A premises law attorney can assist you.

    We will be happy to explain your right to compensation and answer your questions. Just call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to line up your free, no-obligation consultation.

  • Is Eyewitness Testimony Important for a Car Accident Case? | S. Burke Law

    Sometimes eyewitness testimony can be valuable after a car accident, but only if the witness’s account is accurate. A factually incorrect eyewitness can do more harm than good in a lawsuit. Contact our firm at 404-842-7838 to learn more about eyewitness testimony and how it is typically important for car accident cases. You can also find out additional information such as how fault is determined in a car accident and what’s considered negligence in a Georgia car accident.

    When Accurate Eyewitness Testimony Can Be Vital

    An eyewitness can help to prove your case when there is contradictory evidence. For example:

    • The police report gets the facts wrong. Let’s say that you were driving west in the late afternoon and the sun was in your eyes. Someone ran between two parked cars on the side of the road into your path. Because the sun impaired your vision, you did not see the person in time to stop. The police report incorrectly says that you were driving east. If an unbiased third party, such as a person on the sidewalk, testifies that he saw you driving west, what he says can bolster your argument. Find out if you’re required to call the police if you’re involved in a Georgia car accident.
    • Settling a “he said, she said” situation. Some people try to lie their way out of situations to avoid having to pay for the harm they cause. If you were in a wreck and the person who ran the red light tells the officer that you caused the accident, the testimony of an eyewitness who saw the driver crash into you can be valuable. Judges hear so many people lie that they almost expect people to fabricate stories if doing so helps their cause.

    Reasons That Eyewitness Testimony Can Be Flawed

    Eyewitness testimony is often important for car accident cases, but some inaccurate testimony of eyewitnesses is intentional. But other times a witness can sincerely believe that he is describing what happened, even if he is mistaken.

    Intentionally false testimony because of a bias. When a witness deliberately says something that is not true, he usually has one of these motives:

    • He wants to help someone else involved in the accident. If, for example, the eyewitness was the spouse of the other driver, riding in the same car, she will have a motive to relate the story in a way that is favorable to her spouse.
    • He wants to harm your case. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. Let’s say that you happen to have a crash at the moment your former spouse is walking along the sidewalk. If the divorce was less than amicable, he might take pleasure in painting you in a negative light.

    The eyewitness did not see the entire event. Either the person did not observe what happened from start to finish, or her angle on the scene was incomplete. If the witness turned to look because she heard the crash, she did not see what led up to the accident. Anyone who watches instant replay in football games knows how much the angle from which you see something can affect the accuracy of the information.

    Imperfect memory or understanding. The brain cannot tolerate a vacuum, so it will fill in tiny gaps in our recollection with information, even if it has to create the data. This concept is reconstructed memory, which can be flawed or flat-out wrong. Hundreds of people get wrongfully convicted based on eyewitness testimony, only to be set free years later because of DNA and other forensic evidence.

    If you suffered an injury in a car accident, call S. Burke Law. We will discuss with you whether you might be eligible for compensation and also answer any questions that may arise about eyewitness testimony and the important role it can play in car accident cases. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation.