Landowners in Georgia must take reasonable steps to keep people safe on their property and to prevent assaults or attacks that are foreseeable. A parking garage can be responsible for a person who gets hurt because the parking garage owner failed to provide adequate security.
Examples of Inadequate of Negligent Security in a Parking Garage
Liability will depend on the facts of the individual case, but in general, a parking garage owner can be responsible if it fails to:
- Provide sufficient lighting. Having to walk through dark areas of parking garages is unsafe.
- Maintain functional lighting, in other words, repair broken light fixtures and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Warn parking garage users of foreseeable dangers.
- Repair doors, gates, fences, alarm systems, and fences.
- Respond appropriately to alerts, warnings, threats, or other situations that would cause a reasonable person to have concerns about security.
- After an adverse security event like a mugging or an assault, install security cameras.
- Upgrade the existing security devices and protocols if multiple criminal acts happen in or around the parking garage.
The Elements of Negligent Security
We have to prove all four of these elements to hold the parking garage liable for your losses:
1. The defendant parking garage owed you a legal duty. If you were in the parking garage for any lawful reason (as opposed to trespassing), the garage has a legal obligation to keep the garage and its approaches (like sidewalks, entries, and stairwells) reasonably safe.
You are lawfully on the premises if you are a driver or passenger of a vehicle parked in the garage, a garage employee, a vendor (like someone refilling the soda machines), or another guest, like a tow truck driver entering the garage to help someone with a dead battery.
2. The parking garage breached its duty to keep the property safe. If the garage failed to provide adequate security, the garage violated its duty toward customers and other lawful guests. Breaching a legal duty is negligence.
Let’s say that, despite numerous recent assaults and car break-ins, the garage had no security cameras, no onsite attendants, and posted no warnings of the danger. These failures to act constitute negligence.
3. The defendant’s negligence caused the harm to the plaintiff. If a third party attacked the plaintiff because of the lack of reasonable security measures made the plaintiff an easy target, the negligent security is partly to blame for the assault. The attacker is also responsible, but the victim’s best bet for collecting compensation is usually from the property owner, not the street criminal.
4. Adequate security would have prevented the attack. The parking garage owner is not responsible for every crime that ever takes place on its premises. Preventing 100 percent of crimes is impossible.
The parking garage owner is responsible for the crimes that happen because of negligent security. Failing to take any measures to keep the parking garage safe after numerous criminal acts is negligent security. Taking reasonable steps in this situation could have prevented the crime, so the garage is liable.
Foreseeability of the Crime
Whether a crime is foreseeable will turn on such things as the neighborhood and the history of criminal activity in the area. If the parking garage is in a high-crime, inner-city location where many attacks have taken place, the parking garage owner should have anticipated the likelihood of future attacks. On the other hand, if the parking garage is in a safe neighborhood of a small town that hardly ever sees violent crimes, an assault is less likely, and thereby, less foreseeable.
The Parking Garage’s Responsibility
Parking garages, like all other businesses, must provide security that is appropriate for the individual location. Satisfying this legal requirement starts with a risk and threat assessment. The owner must then develop and implement a security strategy to keep the people it attracts to its premises safe.
A successful claim for negligent security requires an actual physical injury. If you have a close call but manage to escape the situation without physical harm, you cannot get damages from the parking garage. However, if the event leaves you with actual injuries, you can sue the owner of the parking garage for your losses due to negligent security.
Getting Help After an Injury in a Parking Garage
You do not have to figure out the legal issues – we can take care of that for you. If you sustained an injury in a parking garage and you think the garage owner failed to keep you safe, you might have a valid claim for compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to arrange your free consultation.
A negligent security lawyer will talk with you about what happened to you and explain your legal options such as whether you can sue a parking garage for negligent security. We do not charge for this service, and we do not get paid legal fees until you win a settlement or award.