Yes, you can sue a hotel for assault and battery . However, you must prove the hotel's negligence caused your injuries.
Georgia's premises liability laws require public and private establishments to provide sufficient safety and security while you are on the premises. So, if you were a victim of assault, battery, or both, while staying at a hotel, it is possible you have a case.
What is Georgia’s Premises Liability Law?
Georgia’s premises liability law dictates the duties of owners or occupiers of land to invitees.
O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 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.”
In short, both public and private property owners must maintain safe environments for anyone legally on their property to fulfill their obligation of ordinary care.
Tort law refers to ordinary care as a legal obligation requiring adherence to a standard of care while performing acts that could harm others. Deficient fulfillment of ordinary care is the first element you must prove to establish negligence and liability.
A property owner can fail to provide ordinary care in the following ways:
- Failing to maintain adequate security
- Slip and fall accidents
- Inadequate fire safety
- Security overreach
In the case of an assault and battery lawsuit, negligent security would be the applicable failure of duty. Providing sufficient security throughout the property is the primary way a hotel provides ordinary care.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a crucial component of premises liability. Inadequate safety which leads to physical harm places liability upon the owner of the premises. Negligent security laws apply to both public and private properties.
Any business that allows the public onto its property must provide ordinary care to avoid premises liability claims. This can include anything from a public transportation station to a hotel.
What Qualifies as Negligent Security at a Hotel?
Negligent security encompasses many things. But it is more specific in relation to hotels compared to other locations. A hotel must provide security equal to, if not greater than, the safety you would feel in your own home. If your hotel fails to achieve this standard, and you suffer an assault and/or battery, you may be entitled to recover damages.
The following describe ways in which your hotel’s security was negligent:
- Inattentive front desk clerks: If the hotel staff was not diligent in screening visitors, the hotel will be liable for any crime or injuries that occur.
- A lack of security guards: Hotels must have sufficient guards on patrol to ensure guest safety.
- Insufficient lighting: A lack of lighting potentially increases the chances of attack. For example, if you are robbed when walking to your car, the hotel could be liable if adequate lighting would have prevented it.
- Lack of security cameras: Security cameras help identify trespassers and anyone acting irregularly. If the hotel lacked security cameras or those on the property did not work, you can hold it liable.
- Transient population in the parking lot: If the hotel experiences heavy foot or vehicle traffic from people who are not guests and do not intervene, it could be liable for an assault or battery perpetrated by one of these people.
- Quality of locks on your door: Being unable to safely secure yourself in your room (e.g., broken or faulty locks) could establish negligence on the part of the hotel. However, failing to lock your own door may also hurt your case.
- Being unable to call for help: Did the front desk respond to your call for help? Who did you speak to? Was the response time delayed?
- Was your attacker a stranger?: If the front desk allowed a stranger onto the property or gave him your room number, the hotel could be to blame for the attack.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
It is important that you know the difference between assault and battery before you file a claim alleging you are a victim of either of these crimes:
Assault: Refers to when someone attempts or threatens to injure you.
Battery: Refers to when someone causes you substantial physical harm or physical bodily harm.
Get Help from the Team at S. Burke Law Today
Navigating assault and battery and negligence cases are not only stressful, they are extremely complicated. But S. Burke Law can help you present your case. Attorney Sheryl Burke spent time as an insurance adjuster, which means she knows what defenses the hotel and its insurance company might try to use to deny your claim. It also means she knows how to fight against those defenses and win.
Call us at 404-842-7838 for information and a free consultation.