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Atlanta Negligent Security Lawyer
A land and business owners’ legal duty to provide safe premises for their patrons, renters, and guests includes a duty to protect them from harm caused by the intentional criminal acts of third parties when those criminal acts are foreseeable. Criminal acts are foreseeable when their occurrence can reasonably be expected under the circumstances. An Atlanta negligent security lawyer at Ponton Law can help to hold property owners and business establishments accountable when guests or patrons become victims of violent criminal attacks on their premises.
The general rule in Georgia is that an owner does not ensure a patron’s safety against third-party criminal attacks, and as such, any liability from such attacks must be predicated on the foreseeability of the criminal act. If the owner has reason to anticipate a criminal act, then he has a duty to exercise ordinary care to guard against this risk of harm. Georgia courts examine the history of prior criminal activity on and around the premises to determine the foreseeability of the act in question. The incident causing the injury must be substantially similar in type to the previous criminal activities so that a reasonable person would take ordinary precautions to protect his or her customers or tenants against the risk posed by this sort of activity.
In determining whether previous criminal acts are substantially similar to the occurrence causing harm, thereby establishing the foreseeability of risk;
- The court must inquire into the location, nature, and extent of the prior criminal activities
- The court must inquire into their likeness, proximity, or other relationship to the crime in question.
What Are Examples of Negligent Security?
You should not have to worry about your safety being in jeopardy when you patronize a business or enter another person’s property in Atlanta. Under Georgia law (OCGA § 51-3-1), businesses and property owners have a basic responsibility to “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Failure to take adequate safety precautions may be a breach of this duty.
In Georgia, businesses and property owners may be held liable for a third-party attack that occurs on their premises—but they are not automatically liable. A plaintiff (injured victim) must prove that the property owner’s negligence contributed to the attack. Here, our Atlanta negligent security attorney highlights four examples of things that could constitute negligent security in Georgia.
Examples of Negligent Security in Georgia
- Broken or Defective Locks
When an attack occurs because doors or windows have broken or otherwise defective locks, the at-fault business or property owner may be held legally responsible through a negligent security claim. Working locks are a basic safety precaution—especially for hotels and apartment buildings.
- Inadequate Lighting
Criminal assaults are disproportionately likely to occur in poorly lit environments. Businesses and property owners in Georgia that fail to provide adequate lighting—including in parking lots and other exterior areas—may be liable for negligent security. Broken lights may be negligent security.
- Poor Screening of Employees
Businesses and property owners must ensure that the people that hire are of reasonably good character. If an employee assaults a customer or other guest, the employer may be legally liable on the grounds of negligent security—especially if they failed to conduct adequate background checks.
- Lack of Trained Security Guards
Some businesses and property owners should hire security guards. For example, a bank in a relatively dangerous neighborhood in Atlanta may need to have trained security personnel on-site during business hours. Similarly, a nightclub or other venue that serves alcoholic beverages may also need to have trained security guards.
Negligent Security Claims are Evaluated on a Case-By-Case Basis
As you are undoubtedly aware, not every business in Georgia is required to have security guards on staff. Businesses and property owners simply must exercise proper care in taking adequate safety precautions. What constitutes adequate safety precautions depends on the specific circumstances of the case. A small business is not required to take the same security precautions as a large company. Liability in a negligent security claim is always imposed on a case-by-case basis with close consideration to what a reasonably prudent person would have done under similar circumstances.
Establishing A Case
While the prior criminal activity must be substantially similar to the present crime, it does not have to be identical, and what is required is that the prior incident is sufficient to attract the owner’s attention to the dangerous condition which resulted in the litigated incident. If there are no prior similar incidents, then the owner is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Our investigation always includes determining what prior criminal acts occurred on the property before the subject incident.
When property/business owners fail to provide adequate security measures, residents and guests are put at risk for criminal attacks. Inadequate security has too often resulted in the rape, injury, or death of innocent victims. Our Atlanta negligent security lawyer at Ponton Law works with law enforcement, private investigators and security experts to maximize the compensation recovered for our clients. Adequate security measures can include:
- Hiring security guards;
- Installing sufficient lighting;
- Installing security video cameras or “dummy” cameras;
- Keeping bushes and hedges from growing too tall; and
- Providing sturdy locks and alarms on doors and windows.
The adequacy of the security measures employed may vary depending upon the location and type of business being operated.
Atlanta, Georgia negligent security cases often involve violent criminal attacks such as rape, shooting, stabbing, murder, and assault. These cases have been successfully prosecuted by Ponton Law against owners and operators of businesses. Ponton Law has successfully litigated many cases where the failure of a land/business owner to provide adequate security resulted in the death of guests or patrons or left them with severe, life-altering injuries. Ponton Law’s Atlanta negligent security lawyer handles these types of cases throughout the state.
Call Us Today for Your Free Consultation
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a violent crime on commercial premises, contact an Atlanta, Georgia premises security lawyer at Ponton Law today for a free consultation about your potential Georgia negligent security lawsuit. Call 404-860-2454 to speak with an attorney about your case or fill out our free online consultation form to get started.