Can you file a lawsuit for negligent security?
After a staggering 157 homicides, 2020 went down as a historically violent year for Atlanta - but 2021 is already on pace to be even worse.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported the homicide rate for this year is ahead of 2020's pace, as murders have skyrocketed by roughly 60% through the first three months of 2021.
The problem has gotten so far out of control that Atlanta police are taking to social media to help combat the issue, pleading with residents to "Think before you shoot.”
From a 30-year-old man who was shot and killed in a southeast Atlanta park to a 43-year-old woman who was robbed at gunpoint by two men in her driveway, violent crime has been on the rise throughout Atlanta since last summer.
While some attacks are simply freak occurrences that no one could have seen coming, there are reasonable steps that property owners can and should take to avoid violent crimes from happening on their premises.
Negligent security claims and violent crimes
By law, property owners, managers, and landlords are required to maintain safe conditions on their premises and take proactive steps to prevent violent crimes from happening on their property.
If a property is in an area with a high crime rate — such as Atlanta — then the property owner or manager should take appropriate security measures to secure the premises since they have good reason to believe a violent crime may happen on their property.
Keep in mind that taking preventative measures doesn't mean the property owner has to turn the premises into Fort Knox. On the contrary, reasonable steps may include things like installing security cameras, adding protective barriers, or hiring security guards.
When a property owner or manager fails to take reasonable, proactive steps and is aware or should have been aware that there is potential for a violent crime to take place on their premises, it puts others in danger of being injured, harmed, or killed on the property.
Even if the perpetrator of a violent attack is never found or is acquitted of criminal charges, victims can still take civil action against the owner or manager of the property where the attack took place by filing a negligent security lawsuit.
How do you know if you have a case?
If you or someone you love is the victim of a violent attack on someone else's property, you must prove that the attack happened due to the property owner's negligence and you suffered damages as a result. Damages may include the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages, your pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and any other losses you sustained as a result of the attack.
Most negligent security claims involve a violent crime such as a shooting, stabbing, mugging, robbery, assault, rape, or murder and typically take place in apartment buildings, hotels, motels, parking lots, grocery stores, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other businesses.
Common reasons to file a negligent security lawsuit against a property owner or manager include:
- A lack of security guards
- Poorly-trained or careless security guards
- An absence of functioning security cameras
- Poor lighting
- Leaving doors unlocked or otherwise failing to restrict access to a building
- Not installing or maintaining barriers around the property (e.g., fencing)
Once more, reasonable and proactive steps may vary depending on the type of premises, the crime rate in the area, and the history of crimes taking place on the property.
Take strong legal action with help from George S. Johnson
Homicides are on the rise in Atlanta, and even though these tragedies can't all be blamed on negligent security, there are some cases where taking reasonable measures may have prevented an attack from happening. Without a doubt, security should be the top priority for property owners, managers, and landlords — yet many fail to do even the bare minimum to secure their premises.
While these types of cases might seem straightforward, lawsuits involving negligent security are undeniably complex and require a unique skill set to handle.
Find out how our law firm can help you. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our office is located in Decatur and we're proud to serve clients throughout Atlanta and all of Georgia.