Inadequate Security & Premises Liability
The owner of a home or business is responsible for the safety of any person lawfully on the property and any events that occur there. Property owners have a legal duty to provide adequate security to protect their visitors from predictable criminal activity. If you have been injured on another party’s property due to negligent security, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Earlier this year, a jury awarded $5.1 million to the parents of a man who was killed while staying as a guest in an Albany, GA, motel room; the jury found that the motel owner failed to keep the premises safe. Previous criminal activities on and around the property were sufficient to put the owner on notice that there was a safety issue. This case of inadequate security is a timely example of premises liability, which is an area of law not limited to the more numerous slip and fall cases.
The Macon, GA, negligent security attorneys of the Mann Law Firm recognize that a property owner’s failure to provide reasonable security may entitle someone harmed by that failure to damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and loss of support. Holding negligent property owners liable for inadequate security that results in personal injury, severe psychological trauma, or even death requires skilled representation. The victim has the burden of proving that the owner knew of the hazard that caused the injury and that the victim did not. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, we can promise to listen, to advise, and to deliver unwavering legal advocacy on your behalf. Contact us at (478) 742-3381 or use this convenient online contact form.
TYPES OF INADEQUATE SECURITY
While inadequate security can happen anywhere, the most common sites are commercial properties, such as restaurants, department stores, dormitories, movie theaters, sport facilities and stadiums, carnivals, grocery stores, condominiums, apartment complexes, retail stores, hotels, office buildings, parking lots, gas stations, and shopping centers. The sheer size of these properties means that they are often crime sites or are near crime-ridden areas, which should serve to put their owners on notice that criminal activity is a possibility. These owners are expected to identify and address any security lapses to prevent foreseeable injury to others. Some of the common inadequate security problems the Mann Law Firm looks for in personal injury claims include:
- Security measures: If the property is a public venue, are there security guards on site? Was there a fence that was in a dilapidated condition? Were there cameras operating at the apartment complex, parking garage, or bar? Were the cameras working properly? Were there warning or other signs posted? If the answers to some of these questions are no, then the security for that facility or venue may be suspect.
- History: What is the history of crimes at that facility or venue? Were there previous complaints by residents or customers? If the property has a dubious history, it may be possible to establish that the property owner or manager has ignored it, which may have led to your injuries.
- Maintenance: Cameras that don’t work, burned out light bulbs, broken fences, doors or windows — all of these things can make it easier for criminals to get into or onto a property without being seen. It does not make sense for a property to be guarded with a security guard if the door in the back is broken. Properties that are poorly maintained are ripe targets for criminals.
Your personal injury attorney will review the history and general condition of the establishment to determine whether inadequate security measures may have contributed to your accident injuries.
INADEQUATE SECURITY INCLUDES
- Broken locks
- Failure to have and keep highly visible security measures
- Failure to run background checks on employees or tenants
- Failure to properly screen visitors
- Failure to provide security guards
- Faulty alarms
- Inadequate lighting
- Lack of security cameras or alarms
- Open or unlocked entrances.
Inadequate Security Claim Elements
In a potential premises liability or inadequate security claim, it is vital to understand that the property owner cannot be held liable for every crime that happens on the property. Civil liability applies only where it can be proven that the owner or establishment did not exercise reasonable care.
In an inadequate security case, you must prove the following elements to prevail in your lawsuit or claim:
- You were a customer, tenant or guest who was allowed on the property.
- The defendant had a legal or contractual duty to keep you safe on the property.
- The property owner did not protect visitors from crimes that could be foreseen.
- The crime may not have happened if the property owner had provided proper security.
- Due to the negligence of the defendant, you were injured by a third party.
Bar Fights and Negligent Security
Bars and taverns are usual places for disagreements that can lead to serious fights. The issue that comes up is whether the bar or establishment should be sued for negligent security according to the premises liability law. Bars, restaurants and similar establishments owe customers a duty of care to protect them against these types of known dangers. Some courts in Georgia have found property owners liable for not providing adequate security to protect patrons from bar fights and the injuries that result.
Negligent Security Law in Georgia
One part of Georgia law that is controversial related to negligent security is how to apportion damages. Usually when there are several parties responsible for someone’s injuries due to negligence, the jury may apportion liability to each responsible person or entity. The damage award then is divided accordingly.
However, there are several cases in Georgia that conflict regarding how apportionment should be applied in a negligent security case. Until the supreme court in Georgia weighs in, the law in a Georgia negligent security case will be difficult to predict. To summarize, the outcome of a Georgia negligent security case is always extremely fact-specific. The law is changing all the time. The Mann Law Firm fully understands the many legal and other factors that can affect the result of a negligent security claim.
The Legal Process
There is a limited period after an injury in which a claim can be made. Questions about filing deadlines can be complicated; and if you miss the cutoff date, you may lose your legal right to damages. Additionally, inadequate security cases require a thorough investigation of the scene of the incident and a timely preservation of evidence. An experienced lawyer can help evaluate the circumstances surrounding similar crimes in the area, how recent they were, and their geographic proximity to the harmful incident.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a crime on another’s property, or if a loved one has been killed on the premises of another, contact the Mann Law Firm by calling us at (478) 742-3381 or filling out our online form. We represent clients throughout the state of Georgia, including the communities of Macon, Dublin, Warner Robins or Milledgeville.
We understand that inadequate security cases often involve psychological distress in addition to physical injuries, and we can help you get the financial compensation that you deserve. We are pleased to offer a free initial consultation and look forward to assisting you.