If you, a family member or a loved one have been injured on the property of a business as a result of the criminal acts of another person, there may be a claim for inadequate or negligent security. This could include an incident at a hotel, apartment complex, nightclub, retail store, shopping mall, gas station, restaurant or other commercial property. Ripper Law Firm PC possess the experience and skills to handle the complexities of inadequate or negligent security claims.
Inadequate or negligent security claims concern legal liability imposed on business and property owners for foreseeable actions of others which cause harm. In other words, if there were things that the business or property owner could and should have done to prevent the incident, the victim may be able to hold them legally responsible for their injuries.
Crime victims often believe they have little recourse to obtain compensation for the injuries they have suffered. While the criminal justice system may deal with the criminal in terms of punishment, if the perpetrator is caught and punished, that does not address medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that the victim experienced. Even if a criminal is ordered by a court to make financial restitution to the victim, criminals rarely have the money to compensate the injured person.
Liability for inadequate or negligent security is based on the foreseeability of the incident which caused the harm. Under the law, business and property owners are required to consider the risk of criminal activity in the management and operation of their businesses. They must pay attention to their surroundings. They have a duty to be aware of criminal activity on or around their facilities and to take reasonable measures to protect their customers, residents or invitees against criminal acts. As a general rule, property owners must be aware of a risk before they are legally required to take adequate measures to prevent it. For instance, if there have been a number of similar crimes on or near the property, the property owner may be held liable for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent such incidents. Ignorance is not necessarily a valid defense, as a business or property owner may be held liable for unreasonably failing to find out about criminal activity on or near its premises.
Inadequate security claims typically require evidence that criminal or other harmful activity previously occurred on the property and the property owner did not take steps to prevent it from happening again. For example, if a hotel has been broken into in the past and guests have been robbed or assaulted, the hotel should take steps to improve security, such as installing better locks, improving lighting, adding a video surveillance system or increasing its security personnel. Similarly, a bar or nightclub that has been the scene of numerous assaults should hire additional security staff to prevent similar incidents from happening.
The duties of business and property owners generally fall into three (3) categories: administrative, interior security and external security. First, there should be an adequate system for reporting and collecting data about criminal activity on or near the premises. They should have effective security policies and procedures in place. They should do background checks on job applicants and employees, and they should adequately train and supervise their employees to recognize suspicious persons, potential threats and dangerous situations.
Business and property owners may also have an obligation to maintain locks, keep control of master keys and spare keys, control building access, install security systems and maintain adequate interior lighting. Additionally, they should monitor and maintain control over access to their premises, adequate exterior lighting in parking areas and access areas, control overgrown foliage and, if necessary, hire exterior security personnel.
Inadequate security can result in traumatic, devastating and life-altering consequences. The most significant injuries are often emotional and psychological, not physical. In Georgia, crime victims may recover against negligent property owners for not only their physical injuries and medical expenses, but also for the mental, emotional and psychological effects experienced as a direct result of the criminal act.
The number of inadequate security claims has increased significantly in the past several years. Rape and sexual assault account for the majority of these claims. However, claims may result from murder, robbery, burglary, assault and other crimes.
There are strict time limitations within which you must act to preserve your legal claims. Inadequate security cases have short deadlines, so you should not delay consulting with legal counsel. There is another reason you should not delay speaking with an experienced inadequate security lawyer. In order to position your case for the best result, it is important that relevant evidence is secured in the hours and days immediately following the incident. This includes video surveillance footage, audio tape, photographs, witness statements and other evidence showing what happened. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for critical evidence to conveniently go “missing” after these incidents. That is why it is important to act quickly and contact an experienced inadequate security lawyer. Once we are aware of your claim, we can take immediate action to protect and preserve evidence which could be vital to proving your case in a court of law.
Contact our office today at 404-445-5000 for a free case evaluation.