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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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Can I Sue a School for Negligent Security?
Yes, in some cases you can sue a school for negligent security if they failed to provide a safe environment which resulted in the injury of you or a loved one.
Georgia schools must follow federal rules for providing a safe environment for our students and teachers. If a school fails to meet the standards for school safety or its negligence causes someone to suffer an injury, the injured person may be able to sue for damages.
What Constitutes Negligent Security at a School
We must prove all four elements to make a successful case for negligent security at a school. These elements are:
1. The school (defendant) had a legal duty toward the injured person (plaintiff).
Schools have a legal duty to protect students, teachers, parents, volunteers, and authorized visitors. The school campus, parking lots, and entryways must be reasonably safe.
2. The defendant breached its duty toward the plaintiff and failed to maintain safety on school premises.
Failure to provide and maintain adequate security is a breach of duty. Thus, behavior that fails to live up to the legal standard of care is negligence.
3. The school’s negligence caused the harm that the plaintiff suffered.
The school’s negligent security must be at least part of the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Mere negligence without injury falls under the “no harm, no foul” rule.
Negligent security claims must involve physical injuries. If someone threatens you with imminent bodily harm, but you manage to escape without physical injuries, you do not have a negligent security claim.
4. Adequate security would have prevented the crime.
Schools are not legally responsible for every crime that takes place on their premises. For example, the school is not liable if providing appropriate security would not have prevented the crime.
New Legislation About School Safety in Georgia
Georgia lawmakers passed tougher security requirements after the school shootings in Florida and other states. These new rules became effective for the 2018-19 school year.
Some school districts previously had some of these measures in place. However, the new law ensures more uniformity in school security measures across the state. The updated requirements require:
- The local emergency management agency to approve every school district’s safety plan.
- School staff to receive training in violence prevention and mental health issues.
- Schools to install and utilize high-tech security devices.
How New Legislation Affects Liability of Schools
If someone sustains an injury at a school that failed to implement the recently-mandated security measures and its compliance would have prevented the injury, the injured person has a strong negligent security case. In this situation, the plaintiff can sue the school for flouting the traditional negligence and negligent security provisions of the law.
Specific Threats That Schools Must Address
Georgia law requires schools to create and implement safety plans that protect students, teachers, and authorized visitors from:
- Potential terrorist activities
- Transportation risks
- Hazardous materials
- Natural disasters
Victims can bring negligent security claims against schools that fail to take reasonable and required steps to protect them.
Persistently Dangerous Schools
Georgia’s Department of Education identifies schools that have ongoing safety issues and offers them professional and technical help to ensure compliance with safety laws. A student who is the victim of a violent crime or who attends a school labeled as “persistently dangerous” can exercise the Unsafe School Choice Option (USCO) and attend a different public school.
You can access the USCO reports to find out about reported criminal activity at your child’s school. Once a school knows about an unsafe condition, it must take reasonable measures to prevent harm to students, teachers, and authorized visitors. Failure to do so can be construed as negligence.
Georgia School Safety Laws
Georgia has many laws that prohibit certain acts on or near school campuses. If a school does not address and enforce these regulations, it can be guilty of negligent security. Some of the prohibited activities include:
- Possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school
- The manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana or other controlled substances within a school safety zone
- Possession of alcoholic beverages on school premises
- Cell phones and other electronic communication devices (at the discretion of each school)
- Loitering on or near the school premises (designed to prevent gang and drug activity)
- Disrupting a school, especially in a bomb threat scenario
The law requires that students attend school. Georgia law also orders schools to protect their students and teachers from harm. Victims can sue a school for negligent security if it fails to implement adequate measures to guarantee their safety.
If you need help to decide if you can sue a school for negligent security, call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838. We will set up your free consultation to discuss whether you might be eligible for compensation for negligent security at a school.
Can I Sue a Security Company for Negligent Security?
You may be able to sue a security company for negligent security if you sustained injuries on your or someone else’s property.
Potential Lawsuits Against a Security Company for Negligent Security
If you suffered an injury because the security company failed to provide adequate security on your property, you may have a negligent security and breach of contract claim. You may also have a negligent security claim if you sustained injuries on premises owned by someone else who hired a security company.
Actions That May Constitute Negligent Security by a Security Company
There are many ways in which a security company can be negligent. Here are a few examples:
Negligent hiring of employees. A security company should perform sufficient background and criminal checks to ensure that they are not hiring dangerous or violent felons. It should also confer with previous employers to see if the potential employee poses any type of security risk.
For example, if at a previous job, the security guard left his assigned post in a parking lot behind a downtown store. While the guard was in a nearby bar, someone attacked and injured a customer who was walking from the parking lot into the store.
The previous employer fired the guard for leaving his post. A routine background check would have revealed this. If the current employer did not perform a background check when hiring the guard, the company can be held liable for negligent security.
Negligent training of employees. A security company may have thoroughly investigated its job applicants but failed to train them. Handing someone a uniform and a badge without making sure that he has the skills to handle foreseeable circumstances is negligent training. It can subject the security company to liability for damages.
Negligent supervision of employees. A security company should have protocols in place to make sure that the employees do their jobs correctly. If the security company does not keep track of how its employees perform, the company can be guilty of negligent security.
Let’s say that a night security guard is supposed to make the rounds every hour, checking to see that the doors are locked and that the building is secure. However, the company never verifies that these security measures have been implemented. Consequently, it can be held liable for negligent security, especially if someone gets hurt because of the guard’s negligence.
Negligent retention of employees. No matter how well the security company vetted, trained, and supervised an employee, the firm has a duty to remove dangerous employees. If the employer knows or should have known that the employee poses an unacceptable safety risk and does nothing, the company can be held liable if that failure to act causes harm to someone.
As an example, a security company hires a guard who must drive a golf cart-style vehicle while performing her duties. Despite her third conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, the security firm does not fire her. As a result, she injures two people while driving the security company’s vehicle through the parking lot. In such a situation, the security company is liable for negligent retention.
Respondeat superior. Sometimes, employers have to pay for the harm their employees cause. The theory of respondeat superior holds employers responsible because they hired the employee.
If you need help determining if you have a case, contact a premises law attorney for legal assistance.
The Four Elements of Negligence
We must prove four factors to win a security negligence claim:
1. The security company (defendant) had a duty toward the injured person (plaintiff). Georgia law requires security guards to “protect the asset under their protection.” They are to carry out such actions as are legal under state law for the security of the person or property under their care. If the security company was supposed to protect the person who was injured, the firm had a legal duty toward that individual.
2. The security company failed to fulfill its legal obligations toward the person or asset under its protection. If the security company did not take the required actions to protect someone within the scope of its duty, the company breached its legal duty toward that person.
For example, a jewelry store hires a security company to protect its employees, customers, and merchandise. However, the security guard on duty fails to take any action when he sees someone stealing a ring. This failure to act constitutes negligence.
3. The negligence must be the cause of the injury. The thief is emboldened by the guard’s negligence and brandishes a gun. He robs the store and shoots a customer in the process. The guard’s failure to act contributed to the shooting.
4. The injury must be preventable. If the guard had responded to the thief promptly, he could have prevented the injury.
Since the above constitutes all four prongs of a negligent security claim, the security company can be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
Get Legal Help for Your Negligent Security Case
We provide a free consultation to determine if a security company’s negligence makes you eligible for compensation for your injuries. Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 today for a free case evaluation.
Can I Sue a Shopping Mall for Negligent Security?
Georgia law requires property owners to take reasonable measures to keep people on their property safe. If a person sustains an injury in an assault and battery at a shopping mall because the property owner failed to provide adequate security, the mall may be liable for the injured person’s damages.
To learn more and to get a free consultation, call at 404-842-7838.
A Lawyer Can Help Prove the Shopping Mall’s Liability
Liability for negligent security has four elements, all of which we must establish with evidence:
- The defendant (shopping mall) had a legal duty toward the plaintiff (injured person). A property owner generally has no legal obligation to protect trespassers, but if the plaintiff was on the premises legally as a customer, tenant, employee, or another guest, the defendant must take reasonable measures to keep the shopping mall and approaches (parking lots, parking garages, entryways, and other approaches) safe.
- The defendant breached its duty to keep the premises safe. If the defendant did not provide adequate security, the mall failed in its responsibility toward the people who are on the property legally. Failure to satisfy a legal duty toward others is negligence.
- The defendant’s negligence caused the harm to the plaintiff. If a third party took advantage of the lax security measures at the mall and attacked or assaulted the plaintiff, the defendant’s failure to provide adequate security may be partly to blame for the injury to the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered damages. The injured party suffered damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering because of the attack or assault at the shopping mall.
To get a free consultation and case review, contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
Foreseeability of the Crime
One aspect of foreseeability is what has happened in the past at that mall or in the neighborhood. If the mall is in a high-crime area or has experienced multiple crimes in the past, the property owner is on notice that future crimes may occur.
The Shopping Mall’s Responsibility to the Patron
Shopping malls have to provide security that is adequate for the location. A property owner is not required to hire bodyguards to escort each customer while they shop, but the mall must make a reasonable effort to provide a level of security that will prevent foreseeable crimes. If the mall fails to take reasonable steps to deliver a safe environment for shoppers, tenants, employees, and other guests, it may be liable for their injuries suffered due to an attack.
What Can Constitute Inadequate or Negligent Security at a Shopping Mall
Depending on the facts of the case, the property owner can be liable for inadequate and negligent security if it did not:
- Warn people about foreseeable dangers
- Upgrade existing security after multiple criminal acts
- Install surveillance cameras after security events
- Provide and maintain sufficient lighting
- Respond appropriately to threats, warnings, alerts, or other incidents that would cause a reasonable person to have security concerns
- Repair doors, gates, locks, alarm systems, or fences
If you suffered an injury at a shopping mall and inadequate security contributed to your injury, the shopping mall may be liable. You may be eligible to recover compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for help with your case.
What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a key component of Georgia’s premises liability laws. Property owners must maintain safe conditions for those invited to their premises. Typically, most people think of premises liability laws as requirements for accidents like slip and falls. However, negligent security accounts for a large part of premises liability claims.
Georgia's Premises Liability Laws
Under Georgia law, Title 51, Chapter 3 – Liability of Owners and Occupier of Land, a duty of care requires property owners to provide security to its visitors. The statute states:
“Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.”
As a result, many establishments and property owners must ensure there is adequate security for their visitors. If a property owner fails to provide adequate security or lighting and a visitor is attacked or otherwise injured, the property owner may be liable.
Venues Requiring Adequate Security
Many places must provide additional security for their guests. These locations and businesses may include:
- Parking lots
- Sports and other similar event venues and stadiums
- Apartment complexes (especially in areas with higher crime rates)
- College dormitories
- Amusement parks
- Bars and nightclubs
- Movie theaters
Negligent security expectations require property owners to ensure the physical and financial security of their visitors.
Consider the following examples:
- Sports and concert arenas often contain rowdy, intoxicated fans. Arena owners must employ security guards to ensure the safety of guests on the property. If an intoxicated sports fan injures another visitor to the property, the arena owner can be liable for negligent security.
- Parking lots are often the location of robberies, kidnappings, assaults, and carjackings. A property owner should include adequate lighting and/or security guards to patrol the area. If someone walking in the parking lot is the victim of a robbery because the area was dimly lit, the property owner can be liable for any injuries.
How Property Owners Can Ensure Adequate Security
Knowing where certain security measures should be in place and identifying what should be in place are two different things. For example, hotels and college dormitories must implement sufficient security measures to ensure the safety of occupants. There are many ways property owners can ensure their visitors are safe. These security measures may include:
- Security guards
- Secured gates
- Maintaining security systems
- Security protocols
A failure to implement any of the above could qualify as a breach of the duty of care, and this is what your negligent security claim ultimately hinges upon: proving that the owner behaved negligently and, thus, is liable.
Proving Negligence and Liability in Your Negligent Security Claim
Like most personal injury cases, negligent security claims require proving negligence. To do so, we must establish a few elements:
- Duty of Care
We have established what constitutes a duty of care. But being able to prove negligence, causation, and damages will determine to entitlement to compensation for any injuries you suffered.
Simply, negligence is a failure to fulfill the expectations expected of property owners. It not only involves failing to do certain things, but it also presumes an expectation that property owners will foresee certain hazardous actions. For example, not having enough on-duty security guards in a high crime area could qualify as negligence.
Causation requires proving that you suffered injuries or losses due to the negligence of the property owner. For example, if a clearly intoxicated patron assaults you at a bar or nightclub, you could argue that the security guard failed to do his duty to keep you safe.
Damages are the results of the incident. They can include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and more.
Call an Atlanta Negligent Security Lawyer
Many negligent security incidents are violent in nature and can leave a victim suffering for weeks, months, or even years.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury caused by negligent security, you deserve compensation for those injuries. We encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team dedicates itself to protecting victims who may be involved in robberies and assaults. We understand that Atlanta’s citizens place significant responsibility in the hands of local property owners to ensure their safety.
If you believe they did not fulfill their duties, we encourage you to call today to speak with a negligent security lawyer at 404-842-7838.
Can I Sue an Apartment Complex for Negligent Security?
You may be able to sue an apartment complex for negligent security if you were the victim of a crime in or around an apartment building. However, you must be able to prove the crime resulted from a lack of adequate security.
When Is an Apartment Complex Liable for a Crime?
Owners of apartment complexes owe their tenants (and visitors) a duty of care that includes taking reasonable measures to protect tenants from harm that third parties cause. If an apartment complex did not take reasonable measures to ensure your safety and you were the victim of an assault, the complex may be liable.
What “reasonable” means is a fact-intensive question, the answer to which insurance adjusters and courts determine on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the factors in determining what is “reasonable” are:
- Whether the crime was foreseeable given the inadequacy or lack of security measures
- Whether there was a history or pattern of known criminal activity in or around the apartment complex
- Whether the owner or property manager had ever implemented or upgraded existing security in response to other incidents in or around the apartment complex
- Whether the owner or property manager delayed or cancelled a planned security implementation or upgrade to save money
- The owner’s or property manager’s previous efforts to actively assess the potential for harmful criminal acts
- The financial abilities of the apartment complex owner to implement or upgrade security in relation to the costs of implementation
- Whether maintenance records exist with regard to security equipment such as video surveillance, security alarms, call boxes, gates, doors, windows, locks, or gates
- Whether the owner or property manager routinely maintained security equipment to ensure it was in good working condition
- The lighting of hallways, stairwells, areas of ingress/egress, parking lots, or other common areas if inadequate lighting provided an advantage to a perpetrator
- Whether the owner or property manager had a duty to warn tenants about a specific known threat
- The absence of security personnel or presence of negligent or insufficiently numbered security personnel
- Whether the owner conducted background checks on potentially dangerous co-tenants, contractors, or maintenance employees
- The applicability of state or local codes
- The adequacy of key control policies or procedures that enabled perpetrators access to an apartment or other area of the premises (if that is how the crime occurred)
- Whether a specific safety measure was faulty at the time of the incident (e.g., was the gate broken?)
This is not a complete list of factors, but enough to give you an idea of how complex the analysis of a negligent apartment complex can be. We will look into your case and determine whether the complex failed to take any reasonable measures that would have protected you from injury.
How Do I Prove a Negligent Security Case?
Merely suffering injuries at an apartment complex does not validate a negligent security claim. If you suffered injuries from an act of violence at an apartment complex, you must prove that an apartment complex failed to take reasonable measures to protect you and similarly situated tenants.
The other elements of a successful lawsuit are: (a) whether the apartment complex’s negligence contributed to some or all your injuries, and (b) the amount of money it takes to make you whole.
The victim (whom a civil lawsuit refers to as a “plaintiff”) has the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the apartment complex owner or manager caused the injuries or substantially contributed to them.
Can I Get Help with a Negligent Security Claim?
It can be almost impossible to go up against a large company like an apartment complex alone. Because of the immense liability that comes with housing dozens or even hundreds of people, apartment complexes usually have a policy with a large, experienced insurance company that will do whatever it can to limit its payouts. This often means offering low settlements that cover next to nothing or tricking vulnerable victims into saying something that jeopardizes their case.
Sheryl Burke used to work for insurance companies as an adjuster. This means she knows the tactics insurance companies use to deny or reduce the value of a claim. It also means she knows how to defend against them.
Call S. Burke Law Today for Help with Your Negligent Security Claim
Do not risk a claim denial. Speak to the team at S. Burke Law today. Please call 404-842-7838 today, and give our team the opportunity to answer your questions and review your case at no cost to you.