Third-Party Claims for Negligent Security Under Georgia Law
Georgia law requires property owners to keep their buildings and grounds reasonably clear of hazards to prevent injuries to those visiting them. Visitors, shoppers and others hurt on someone else’s property can bring premises liability claims in court to seek compensation for their injuries. While the most well-known category of premises liability involves slip and fall accidents, property owners have duties extending well beyond wiping up wet floors. They are sometimes required to make an effort to help prevent crimes like burglary, robbery or sexual assault by taking reasonable measures to make their property safe.
Under the doctrine of negligent security, also known as inadequate security, owners of apartment complexes, hotels, parking lots, parking garages and other properties may be held liable if a shopper, resident or visitor is the victim of a foreseeable crime on their property.
Was the assault foreseeable?
A court will compare the preventative actions that could have reasonably been taken with the foreseeability of the type of crime that occurred. If the property owner had knowledge that similar assaults occurred frequently in the area, a court might expect the owner to have provided better lighting, fences, alarm systems or security guards. Evidence of past crimes on the property or in the neighborhood is often used to help establish that the defendant property owner had this knowledge. However, if the area in question has typically been safe, a judge may find that the assault, rape or other crime was not foreseeable and cannot be attributed to the property owner.
If the property owner, landlord or business could have prevented the crime and should have taken reasonable efforts to do so, you may have a valid claim. Georgia allows crime victims to recover damages in a premises liability case for physical injuries and medical expenses, as well as mental anguish.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime occurring in a shopping center, apartment complex or other privately owned area, you may be able to bring a negligent security claim. Consult an experienced Atlanta premises liability attorney with McMenamy Law LLC.