On May 3, a suspect shot and killed one person and injured four others at a medical building in Atlanta. The suspect was taken into custody after a search that lasted several hours. The facts concerning this shooting are still under investigation.
But it raises the possibility that the facility where this happened failed to have adequate security in place. When people are injured or killed because of poor security, the victims and their families may have a legal case. The Law Office of W. Calvin Smith, II, P.C. takes a look at the doctrine of negligent security.
The Facts of the Atlanta Medical Facility Shooting
One person was killed and four injured at 1100 West Peachtree Street in midtown Atlanta. The building houses several medical offices and is operated by Northside Hospital.
The deceased was identified as Amy St. Pierre, and the shooter was determined to be Deion Patterson. Four other shooting victims were being treated after the incident. Three were in the intensive care unit while another was listed in stable condition.
Law enforcement was still investigating the mass shooting in Atlanta as of May 3.
What Is Negligent Security?
Because the investigation is ongoing, it’s not possible to determine yet whether the office was in some way negligent. Nonetheless, the incident at least raises the possibility that negligent security was to blame.
Visitors to business properties, such as medical facilities, rightfully expect to be safe. Although attacks can happen anywhere, property owners have a duty to adopt precautions to prevent them. The law, therefore, requires property owners to implement security measures to keep customers and other visitors safe. If the owner does not, a victim of a crime can pursue legal action. An Atlanta negligent security attorney can help.
A business does not have an obligation to prevent every conceivable criminal act that could possibly occur on its property. That would be impossible. But the property owner or manager is required to take reasonable steps to keep everyone safe. That means doing to prevent murders, assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes.
The specific safety measures that an owner would need to adopt will depend on various factors. For example:
- Is the property located in a high-crime area?
- Has there been criminal activity on the property in the past?
- If so, were steps taken to prevent more crime?
- Have any specific threats been made against the business or the people who work there?
- Does the business sell anything that might make it a target for criminals?
Consider two similar businesses: one located in a safe part of town and the other in a less safe area. Because of the different environments in which they are located, they may require quite different security measures. An Atlanta premises liability attorney will investigate why the crime occurred and whether the owner failed to keep visitors safe.
Examples of Security Measures a Business May Adopt
The following are possible ways a business can keep its customers and visitors safe. Whether these were present or absent in a particular case could affect the outcome:
- Exterior security lighting
- Interior and exterior security cameras
- Security guards to patrol the grounds
- Posted warnings and notices to the public on social media and elsewhere
- Alarms and other security systems
- Restricted access to certain parts of the property.
How Do You Prove Negligent Security?
Working with your Atlanta premises liability attorney, you will need to prove these elements:
- The defendant is the property owner (or leased the property).
- The defendant did not exercise reasonable care to prevent criminal activity.
- This negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury resulting from said criminal activity.
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Were You the Victim of Negligent Security? Our Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one were injured because a property owner failed to keep its premises safe, we can help. Our Atlanta negligent security lawyers can explain your rights and help you seek compensation for your injuries. It starts with a phone call to The Law Office of W. Calvin Smith, II, P.C. Reach out to us today.