Generally, when someone hurts you, that person is liable for your injuries. However, if the crime happened on a property where you reasonably expected safety, you may have a valid premises liability claim against the property owner as well.
Property owners have a duty to provide a certain level of security to all people on their land except for trespassers. A Doraville negligent security lawyer could investigate whether a property owner took reasonable safety precautions. If they did not, and their failure to secure the property created an opportunity for others to injure you, they may be liable for your losses.
Premises Liability and Reasonable Conduct
Negligent security claims are a type of premises liability claim. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 51-3-1, property owners in Georgia must keep their property safe for people who are lawfully on the land with the owner’s permission. The standard of care here is the “reasonable person” standard. In other words, the law seeks to answer whether the property owner took the steps a reasonable person would have taken to keep the property safe and secure.
In traditional premises liability claims, the owner must know there is a hazard. The law may infer knowledge if a hazard existed for long enough for a property owner to discover it. The law may also imply knowledge if common sense suggests a hazard, such as slippery floors when it rains outside. However, since there must be a criminal act in a negligent security claim, showing that the property owner was aware of a risk can be more challenging. A Doraville attorney with negligent security experience could gather evidence about local crime patterns to help strengthen a case. With years of victories at trial, no stage is too big or too small for our firm.
Assessing Security Risks
A private homeowner owes one of the lowest duties of care to their visitors. However, this duty is dependent on certain factors, such as the crime rate in the area. For example, if a homeowner was aware of an escaped convict in the neighborhood but left their doors and windows unlocked, allowing the criminal to quickly enter the home, an injured visitor may have a claim against them. However, a homeowner who did the same thing on an isolated property in an area with a low crime rate might not be liable.
Owners of public places have a more significant duty of care, as they usually have greater resources to pay for security. Depending on the nature of the business, it may be attractive to certain types of crime. For example, someone may know to frequent the parking lot of a pawn shop if they wanted to steal goods or cash, so the pawn shop would have a duty to provide reasonable security and lighting in its parking lot.
In addition, the duty of care increases when the people on the property are somehow in the care of the property owner. For example, people pay for college campuses, hotels, and daycares and trust them to provide a safe environment. When a crime occurs there, juries may hold the caretakers of these institutions to a higher standard than they would other property owners. A Doraville attorney must consider the type of property involved when considering whether security measures were suitable or inadequate.
Implementing Security Measures
A property’s shape, condition, and size will also help determine what security measures are reasonable. Some commonly used security measures include:
- Security gates
- Security guards
- Surveillance cameras
- Emergency call boxes
Absence of these measures may be enough to show negligence. However, it is sometimes worse if the property owner had those items, but they were not working correctly. Visitors might have seen those features and believed they were providing security, only to find out they failed in an emergency. A negligent security attorney in Doraville should investigate the premises to see what security measures were present and whether they were functional at the time of the crime.
Contact a Doraville Negligent Security Attorney
While property owners are sometimes liable for crimes on their premises, that is not always the case. Liability depends on crime rates in the surrounding area, their duty to their visitors, and the property’s characteristics.
Consulting with a Doraville negligent security lawyer could help you determine whether you have a claim. When you contact us, our compassionate team works hard to preserve your rights.