If you were a victim of crime or personal injury while on someone else’s property in Atlanta, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Contact Hasner Law to learn more about your legal rights and potential legal options. Our Atlanta negligent security lawyers will fight to get you the results you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.
What is a Negligent Security Case?
Landowners owe a duty to protect those that come onto their property. In Georgia, failure to carry out this duty is known as negligent security. Negligent security cases are similar to other types of premises liability claims.
When we talk about premises liability lawsuits, we often focus on dangers that can exist on the property, such as a slippery floor or a broken staircase. However, negligent security cases typically involve injuries related to being attacked, kidnapped, robbed, or even killed.
Now, if you suffered an injury due to inadequate security, you may have a case against the property owner. Your claim would be based on the allegation that the owner failed to take appropriate safety measures to reduce the likelihood of the danger, such as violent crime.
But, keep in mind that to be successful in a negligent security case, you must show that the property owner had a duty to secure the area and that he or she failed to carry out this duty. You must also show that this behavior, or lack thereof, led to your injury.
This means that it is possible for you to be injured even with an owner’s reasonable attempts to protect you. For example, if a robber obtained access to the property despite an adequate security system in place, you would likely not have a case against the landowner.
Because these matters can be complex, it’s important to reach out to an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and determine whether you qualify for a claim based on this type of negligence.
Duty Atlanta Landowners Owe to Their Guests
It’s important to note that the duty owed to a visitor depends on the relationship this person has to the landowner. For example, the law does not require a homeowner to install security cameras in the house before inviting friends to visit. However, business owners that have spaces open to the public have a heightened responsibility to keep visitors safe.
That being said, Georgia recognizes three different standards of care that apply to a property owner depending on how the person visiting the premises is classified:
Invitees: are those who are on the premises for a business purpose, such as a customer or a person hired to work on the property. This is the highest standard of care and would apply to stores open to the public.
The landowner must exercise reasonable care to keep the premises safe for invitees. To determine what would constitute reasonable steps, a court would likely take into account factors such as the type of neighborhood where the property is located and whether or not there is a history of criminal activity in the area.
Licensees: are individuals that are allowed to be on the property, but not for business purposes. An example would be a social guest. For licensees, the landlord owes a medium standard of care. This means that the owner is only liable for willful or reckless injury. An example might be leaving doors unlocked or open in a high-crime area.
Trespassers: are people that are not allowed to be on the property for any reason. Trespassers are owed a very low standard of care. In the context of negligent security, a landowner owes no duty to protect a trespasser from another crime being committed against them while on the premises.
Types of Negligent Security Cases
Our firm has extensive experience with all kinds of negligent security cases. There can be huge variation in the type of property involved, so it’s important to hire an expert that understands these differences. In fact, negligent security can occur in both public or private spaces, apartment buildings and single-family dwellings. The type of neighborhood where the property is located is also a critical factor.
Typical examples of these cases involve a landowner failing to do one or more of the following:
- Install adequate lighting
- Respond to a security alert
- Follow security protocol
- Issue warnings about a potential danger
- Lock or secure gates or other areas, or
- Install sufficient and working security cameras.
Keep in mind that any failure to take reasonable steps to keep you safe can be grounds for a negligent security lawsuit.
How Much is My Atlanta Negligent Security Case Worth?
It’s not enough that the owner was at fault for your injury. In order to have a successful claim, you must show that the harm you suffered warrants money damages. Now, if you were attacked, damages would include things like medical expenses, lost wages if you missed work or can no longer work, as well as amounts for pain and suffering.
In some limited cases, you may also be entitled to what is known as punitive damages. These amounts are above and beyond the damages listed above and are meant to punish the person at fault for your injuries.
If a close relative of yours was attacked and killed, you may be able to bring what is known as a wrongful death claim. This would also be based on negligent security and could result in you being compensated for medical expenses incurred before the person passed away, funeral/burial expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages the victim would have earned during his or her lifetime, and loss of care & companionship.
Who is Responsible for Negligent Security Cases?
In most cases, the person liable in a negligent security case is the property owner. However, these matters can become more complex when the person that lives or operates a business from the property leases the premises.
Tenant and Landlord Responsibilities and Liabilities
Now, generally speaking, a tenant “stands in the shoes” of the property owner. This means that the renter would be the one responsible in a premises liability matter, such as a slip and fall case. However, bear in mind that this rule is different for negligent security claims.
As we have discussed, negligent security matters typically arise out of a failure to keep common areas safe, such as parking lots and lobbies. In most cases, this is the responsibility of the property owner and not the tenant. The duty is owed to the renter as well as anyone who is on the property with the tenant’s permission, such as friends and family, or repair people.
In these situations, the landlord is required to keep the areas safe if there is reason to believe that criminal acts may occur on the property. These determinations can be highly complex and require looking at the surrounding circumstances.
For example, when it comes to an apartment building in a high-crime neighborhood, the landlord likely has the duty to install and maintain some sort of security system. This might include door access control, security cameras, or sufficient lighting. However, this level of responsibility would perhaps not arise if the property was located in a gated community subdivision within a low-crime neighborhood.
However, a tenant also has an obligation to take appropriate security steps that are within his or her control. For example, assuming a landlord provided adequate and functioning locks, the tenant likely has a duty to lock the front door. Failure to do so could result in the renter being liable for injuries caused to guests.
Bringing a Claim Against a Security Company
Note that these types of cases sometimes involve a security company. This can complicate matters as these businesses may also be held liable under certain circumstances. For that reason, having a qualified attorney on your side can help ensure that these issues and the individuals and businesses involved are fully investigated.
Let Us Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Further, negligent security claims are often covered by an insurance policy. This may be a form of property owner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. The specific type of coverage and limits will depend on the type of policy that is carried by the owner or person leasing the premises.
At Hasner Law, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance companies and can help you get the settlement you deserve. Remember, insurers do not have your best interests in mind. They are interested in resolving the matter as quickly and cheaply as possible. We will work hard on your behalf and to reach a fair settlement and are prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.
Contact an Atlanta Negligent Security Attorney and Get the Results You Deserve
As you can see, negligent security cases are complex. They require a thorough investigation of the law and the surrounding circumstances. An attorney will need to look into the nature of your injury as well as the overall crime statistics in the neighborhood where the harm occurred.
If you were attacked on someone else’s property, seek medical attention right away. File a police report soon after the incident, and reach out to a qualified attorney that can get you the compensation you deserve.
You can feel comfortable knowing that our attorneys have years of experience handling these types of cases. To make sure that you get the money you are entitled to, reach out to use before you talk to an insurance company. Contact us today to set up a time to discuss your negligent security case in greater detail.