Negligent Security Practice Area

Are You a Victim of A Crime Caused By The Inadequate Security Measures Of A Business? Seek Assistance from Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes, Attorneys Based In Columbus, Georgia.

Negligent Security Cases in Georgia Are Very Substantial Cases And Often Result In Major Compensation For Victims Who Suffer Crimes on Business Premises.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a violent crime, such as assault, robbery, or a shooting, or sexual assault while on a commercial property, you can take action by enlisting the legal expertise of Georgia Negligent Security Attorneys Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes in Georgia.

Georgia businesses face security challenges, as evident from statistics. In 2020, the state recorded a general crime rate of 2,407.45 crimes per 100,000 population. The reported violent crime rate during the same period was 400.1 per 100,000 population. It is no surprise that numerous personal injury lawyers in Georgia regularly handle negligent security cases.

While Georgia has stringent laws in place, the state also expects its residents to prioritize security, particularly when their premises are open to guests and visitors. Those who negligently disregard the safety of others on their property may be held accountable for damages in a security crisis. Negligent security cases revolve around this principle.

Typically, these cases involve instances where the owner or occupier of an apartment complex or commercial property was aware or should have been aware of the presence of criminal activity posing a foreseeable risk of harm to tenants or their guests. In Georgia, owners or occupiers of business premises have an inherent responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe environment, free from known or unknown hazards like violent criminals. To fulfill this duty, businesses must implement adequate security measures to safeguard both the property and its patrons.

Given the significance of these cases, thorough investigation is essential. Attorneys like Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes, renowned in Columbus, Georgia for the experience and expertise required to handle such complex matters.

What Types of Properties Are Subject to a Negligent Security Claim in Georgia?

Typically, negligent security claims are brought against owners of commercial properties such as:

  • Parking lots
  • Shopping and outlet malls
  • Nightclubs and Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Apartment Complexes and Condominiums
  • Convenience stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Sports stadiums
  • Amusement parks
  • Office buildings
  • Hotels and Motels
  • Banks or ATMs

What Is Negligent Security Under Georgia Law?

In a personal injury case involving negligent security in Georgia, inadequate security can be defined by four key factors that are typically associated with deterring violent criminal attacks on a business property:

  • Absence or lack of security systems: Property owners, particularly those located in high- crime areas, have a reasonable duty to install security measures on their premises. These may include security cameras, key-card locking mechanisms, secured windows, and clear fire exits, among others, to prevent criminal attacks. When a landowner fails to implement such systems or allows broken equipment to persist, they can be held liable for negligent security if a customer or tenant is victimized by a criminal attack
  • Inadequate or lack of security guard personnel: Security guards often play a crucial role in deterring crime. Certain businesses like bars, concert venues, sports stadiums, or nightclubs commonly have security guards present to prevent criminal attacks. However, even parking decks or malls in high-crime areas may require security guards for this purpose. Failing to hire or provide sufficient training to security guards can lead to a negligent security claim if a business patron is attacked.
  • Poor or broken lighting: Criminals tend to target areas with inadequate lighting, especially during nighttime. If a business owner fails to provide proper lighting on their premises, creating an environment conducive to criminal activity, they can be held liable for negligent security if the criminal activity was reasonably foreseeable.
  • Inadequate background checks: sometimes companies fail to perform background checks on individuals working for them, which can lead to violent criminal attacks by a company’s employees. In these types of negligent security cases, the focus is on whether the company’s actions were reasonable in hiring the individual and if the attack was reasonably foreseeable.

These factors, namely the absence or malfunctioning of security systems, inadequate security guard personnel, poor lighting, and inadequate background checks are crucial aspects in determining negligent security in personal injury cases in Georgia.

Examples of Negligent Security Under Georgia Law:

Georgia negligent security claims encompass various scenarios where inadequate security measures have resulted in harm. Here are a few examples:

  • Incidents involving shootings, both inside and outside nightclub premises, including parking lots.
  • Cases of stabbings occurring aboard public transportation.
  • Attacks taking place in parking garages or apartment complexes.
  • Instances of sexual assault at hotels, condominiums, or apartment buildings.
  • Violent assaults occurring at malls, concerts, or other business establishments.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime on the business property of another, contact Georgia Negligent Security Lawyers Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes today for a free confidential consultation.

How Do You Prove a Negligent Security Case in Georgia?

In order to establish a negligent security case in Georgia, it is important to consider the premises liability law that governs such cases. According to Georgia law, an owner or occupier of land is responsible for exercising ordinary care in maintaining the safety of their premises and approaches, but they are not considered insurers of an invitee's safety Rentz v. Prince of Albany, 340 Ga. App. 388 (2017).

The legal duty that businesses owe to their invitees in Georgia is codified as follows: When an owner or occupier of land, through explicit or implicit invitation, induces or leads others to enter their premises for lawful purposes, they are liable for damages if they fail to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe OCGA § 51-3-1.

The duty of ordinary care requires the owner or occupier to protect invitees from unreasonable risks of harm that they have superior knowledge of and to inspect the premises to identify potential dangerous conditions of which they may not have actual knowledge This means that the landowner or occupant, such as a lessee or business renting the premises, has a general obligation to take reasonable precautions to keep the premises safe and prevent injuries to invitees.

In negligent security cases, a significant aspect of the case revolves around whether the violent attack was reasonably foreseeable to the business owner. This is typically demonstrated through several means:

  • Investigating the occurrence of prior similar criminal incidents on the business premises before the violent attack that caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Gathering information from current and former employees regarding the state of security on the premises.
  • Determining whether the business owner received actual notice from an employee or other individuals indicating that the premises were unsafe due to the potential for violent injuries.

In general, a landowner is not held liable for criminal acts committed by third parties unless such acts were reasonably foreseeable. For the crime to be considered reasonably foreseeable, it must be substantially similar in nature to previous criminal activities occurring on or near the premises, to the extent that a reasonable person would take precautions to protect customers against the risks associated with that type of activity. Agnes Scott College, Inc. v. Clark, 273 Ga. App. 619 (2005).

What is a Substantially Similar Crime for Negligent Security Cases in Georgia?

To establish that a criminal act was reasonably foreseeable on the part of the proprietor in Georgia, it can be shown through the proprietor's actual knowledge of prior “substantially similar” crimes on the premises. This would require demonstrating that a reasonable person would have taken ordinary precautions to protect invitees against the risks associated with that type of activity Sturbridge Partners, Ltd. v. Walker, 267 Ga. 785, 786, 482 S.E.2d 339 (1997).

Merely being located in a “high crime” area does not, by itself, serve as notice of the proprietor's knowledge to reasonably foresee criminal activity. Bolton v. Golden Business, Inc., 348 Ga. App. 761, 763, 823 S.E.2d 371 (2019).

To determine if a crime is “substantially similar” the court examines factors such as the location, nature, and extent of prior criminal activities, as well as their likeness, proximity, or relationship to the crime in question. While the primary criminal activity must be substantially similar, it does not have to be identical. The key requirement is that the prior incident is enough to draw the proprietor’s attention to the dangerous condition that led to the litigated incident Adler’s Package Shop v. Parker, 190 Ga. App. 68, 70, 378 S.E.2d 323, (1989).

The Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals have continuously refined the definition of “substantially similar crimes” to determine if a proprietor could reasonably foresee the alleged dangerous activity.

Compensation in Georgia Negligent Security Cases.

Victims of attacks on hazardous properties in Georgia may be entitled to two primary forms of compensation in negligent security cases:

  1. Special damages encompass losses that can be quantified in monetary terms, such as medical expenses, lost income, prescription costs, and other easily calculable losses.
  2. General damages refer to losses that do not have a specific monetary value. These damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of enjoyment in life.

Contact Georgia Negligent Security Lawyers Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes today for a free consultation on your negligent security case.

What is the Statute of Limitations on a Negligent Security Claim in Georgia?

In Georgia, personal injury claims, including those related to negligent security, are typically subject to a statute of limitations of two years. Time is a crucial factor in all personal injury cases involving negligence in Georgia. Therefore, it is essential that you reach out to Attorney Jennifer Dunlap and Ray Lakes without delay for a complimentary consultation regarding your negligent security case. Prompt action is necessary to promptly identify all liable parties, conduct a thorough investigation, preserve evidence, and identify potential witnesses.

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