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.