If you or a loved one were attacked in a business or residential area, you may have grounds to sue the property owner if they had inadequate security to keep visitors safe.
Negligent security law falls under the umbrella of premises liability and is designed to protect visitors on a property from any harm caused by a property owners’ negligence. In such cases, the criminal injury inflicted may be from rape, assault, battery, robbery, or homicide.
At Banks, Stubbs and McFarland, a security negligence lawyer will work with you to investigate your claim including prior security lapses, build a strong case, and demand the compensation you or your loved one deserves for medical costs, physical injuries, psychological pain, emotional suffering, or wrongful death from the attack.
How Does Georgia Law Define Negligent Security?
In O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1, Georgia law clearly states that property owners are responsible for exercising “ordinary care” in keeping their property safe, and they are liable for any harm done to visitors as a result of their failure to do so.
In order to prevail in a case of negligent security, proof of these facts is required:
- The breach in security was foreseeable.
- Your injury was a direct result of negligent security.
- The incident occurred on business or residential property.
- The injury caused damage.
Was the Security Breach Foreseeable?
When you are filing a suit for negligent security, you must be able to prove that the security breach was foreseeable. “Ordinary care” on the part of a landowner includes a responsibility to understand what kind of environment their property is in and to install an appropriate level of security (locks, gates, security cameras, security guards, etc.) to protect visitors in that environment. In other words, if the property is in a high crime area, the property owner must take necessary and reasonable precautions.
One way we can prove this is by demonstrating that violent incidents similar to the one inflicted upon you or your loved one have taken place on the property in the past. Was it easy to tell that a volatile situation was brewing, and did the employees, security guards, or property owners present take reasonable steps to protect you in the moments leading up to the attack? For example, if you or someone else complained to a property owner about a group of men regularly harassing you from the steps of your apartment, did the property owner take steps to remove them?
Ultimately, the definition of “foreseeable” is up to the jury, but the more evidence you and your attorney can uncover, the better your chances of obtaining a complete recovery.
Did the Incident Occur on a Business or Residential Property?
Location matters in a negligent security case. If the attack occurred on a business or residential property, the property owner or landowner is required to provide reasonable security. On the other hand, if the attack occurred in a public place that you are able to enter without paying a fee, the property owner is not held to the same standard and you may not have a viable negligent security case.
An inquiry into your reasons for entering the property is required here. A property owner is always held accountable for taking measures to protect the safety of “invitees” or those who were invited to the space. Customers, tenants, and anyone else who entered a property with the invitation of the property owner are all considered invitees.
Georgia law also outlines two other classes of visitors who receive less protection by negligent security law should something happen to them on the property: licensees and trespassers.
- A “licensee” is neither a customer, a servant, nor a trespasser; does not stand in any contractual relation with the owner of the premises; and is permitted, expressly or impliedly, to go on the premises merely for his own interest, convenience, or gratification.
- A “trespasser” is someone who enters a property without any such invitation or permission.
For the licensees and trespassers, a property owner is only liable if they intentionally and directly hurt them.
Get Help From a Negligent Security Attorney
You and your loved ones have the legal right to feel safe and secure when invited to someone else’s property. If that sense of safety has been shaken by an attack that could have been prevented with better security, you have a viable negligent security case against the business or property owner and deserve compensation is due for your medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, and/or death.
If you are looking for a competent and experienced attorney to help you with your security negligence claim, call Banks, Stubbs & McFarland at 770-887-1209 to schedule a consultation today.