Property owners in Georgia generally have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe. If they fail to take the necessary steps, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur because of unsafe conditions. This area of law is known as premises liability law and it includes provision for what is known as negligent security. If you were the victim of a violent crime, a Macon negligent security lawyer may be able to help you get compensation.
You probably already know that you can pursue a negligent property owner for damages if you slipped and fell on their premises or an object came crashing down on you. However, you may not be aware that property owners can also be held responsible for the actions of third parties if criminal activity is involved. If you can prove that the property owner’s security was inadequate and that you would not have been injured otherwise, you can file a negligent security claim.
These types of claims often stem from incidents of robbery, rape, or assault in parking lots, hallways, hotels, and apartment buildings. It can be difficult to hold a property owner responsible for a violent act since they are not automatically liable for third-party actions. Having an experienced attorney on your side is key.
Proving that a Property Owner is Liable for Negligent Security
To successfully claim that a property owner was negligent, you must be able to show that:
- The person or business had a legal duty towards you
- They breached that duty
- That breach caused your injuries
- Those injuries resulted in damages
To prove negligent security, you must also demonstrate that the crime was foreseeable by the property owner. For example, the courts in Georgia have held that if substantially similar incidents previously occurred on or near the property, the owner can be held liable if they didn’t take steps to prevent such actions on their premises. Therefore, if there were robberies in the parking lot adjacent to a restaurant, you may be able to hold the restaurant owner responsible if you were robbed after dinner.
Foreseeability can also be established if you can show that there was a volatile situation brewing on the premises. For example, maybe another patron at the restaurant was confrontational and threatened to assault you multiple times but nothing was done. If the person then went on to assault you and injure you, you could argue that adequate security would have prevented the incident.
You can also argue that a crime was foreseeable if the property is located in a high-crime area. The owner would be expected to take reasonable steps to heighten their security.
Examples of Negligent Security
Under the state’s laws, landlords, property owners, and business owners should guard against “injury from dangerous characters” if they anticipate criminal activity.
Negligent security can be demonstrated by:
- A failure to hire or train adequate security personnel
- A failure to keep gates, doors, windows, and fences in good repair
- A failure to install adequate lighting, cameras, and other security equipment
However, you also have to show that the property owner’s negligence led to your injuries. You won’t be able to get compensation if the individual or entity was negligent but your injuries could be explained by some other occurrence.
Of equal importance is your status on the property when the incident occurred. Property owners have varying duties of care towards invitees, licensees, and trespassers. As the name suggests, an invitee is an individual who was invited onto the property. Customers and patrons of retail stores, gas stations, and places of entertainment are all considered invitees. So too are patients in clinics and hospitals. Under the law, tenants are also invitees of their landlords. Property owners must show ordinary care in keeping their premises safe for invitees.
Meanwhile, licensees are people who are on the property without the invitation of the owner. Trespassers are there without their permission. The property owner has a lower duty of care towards them and can only be held liable if they willfully or wantonly injured them.
Seek Advice from an Attorney at Calvin Smith Law
If you were injured in a violent criminal attack, you also need to show that the injury resulted in damages such as medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These economic and non-economic costs are not capped. In particularly egregious cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages and in most cases, these are capped at $250,000.
To get full compensation, you need to hire a Macon negligent security attorney to handle your case. Negligent property owners should be made to account for their actions. Call Calvin Smith Law today to set up a free consultation.