Personal Injury Lawyer Atlanta, Georgia

Filing a Premises Liability Claim After a Rape or Sexual Assault in a Parking Lot or Place of Business

Moody dark image depicting a strange sinister man back lit by street lamps in a dark parking lot.

Businesses, such as apartments, hotels, gas stations, and shopping centers, have a duty to exercise ordinary care to prevent foreseeable third-party criminal acts. If an attack occurs in a parking lot or business due to a lack of security, the commercial establishment can potentially be held liable (i.e., legally responsible).

A person who was sexually assaulted or raped due to inadequate security measures can potentially file a premises liability claim. Filing a claim allows the victim to recover damages related to their suffering and medical treatment.

What We Must Prove

Inadequate security is often the cause of assaults on properties like apartment complexes or hotels. After an attack happens, there are two things that must be proven:

  1. The business had prior knowledge of any hazards or dangers (or with the exercise of reasonable care could have discovered them); and
  2. The business owner did not take reasonable steps to correct the hazards or prevent the attack from occurring.

5 Ways to Show Negligence

Georgia law requires property and business owners to protect their customers and tenants from unreasonable dangers. These individuals and companies are required to take minimum steps to learn of dangerous conditions and to correct these dangers so their customers or the tenants leasing their apartments are not hurt.

But when these businesses do not take reasonable steps to correct the unsafe condition — and someone is seriously injured, assaulted, or killed — there is a potential claim for premises liability.

Here are five ways our law firm investigates premises liability/inadequate security cases:

  1. Prior crimes. When our sexual assault lawyers investigate an inadequate security case, they secure crime reports from the local police department through an open records request. If there were prior attacks on the property or in the nearby area, we can establish the business was on notice (or should have been on notice) of the likelihood that these acts could occur again.
  2. Internal reports. We look to see if the apartment complex or commercial property kept internal records that identified prior crimes in the area or on-site.
  3. Security measures. We investigate what security, if any, was in effect on the date of the attack and evaluate whether it was sufficient.
  4. Prior victims. We may also interview victims of previous attacks to see if the business was somehow on notice about the prior attacks.
  5. Security experts. There are times when we may hire a security expert to help establish the business owner breached the standard of care by not having security for its tenants or by having an inadequate amount of security.

Resident vs. Trespasser

A sexual assault or rape in an area that contains apartments, whether it’s a gated complex or mixed-use development, usually involves two kinds of people: a resident (or guest of a resident) and trespassers.

If the attacker lived at the apartment complex, it is a challenge to show that increased security measures could have prevented the assault from happening. This type of inadequate security case requires a lot of investigative work. Aspects we examine include:

  • Background screening. Could a criminal background check have revealed the attacker’s criminal past and kept them from gaining access to the area?
  • Poor lighting. Were there any burned-out or broken lights in the parking lot or breezeways that provided a cover of darkness for the attacker? How long were these lights out, and was the apartment complex on notice to fix them?
  • Damaged fencing. Is the parking lot fenced in, or has the fence been broken or cut through in areas that allow both entry and escape for the suspect.
  • Weak locks. Are the locks on the doors or windows inadequate or broken, allowing easy access to the victim and others?

When the attacker is a trespasser on the apartment complex property, our investigation focuses on two things in these types of attacks. The first is that we need to discover if other attacks, sexual assaults, or violent crimes have occurred on the property before the attack currently being investigated.

We must also find evidence that shows the apartment managers did not implement reasonable and necessary safety measures to protect their tenants after these crimes and attacks started to happen.

Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer

Negligent security cases are challenging and require a lot of experience and expertise. If you’ve been a victim, please don’t delay in contacting our premises liability attorneys as we need to move quickly with interviews, on-site inspections, and a thorough investigation to protect your rights.

You need a compassionate law firm with experienced lawyers to handle this type of case. Attorney Gary Martin Hays even wrote a best-selling book called The Authority on Inadequate/Negligent Security Claims in Georgia. It provides easy-to-understand explanations of how negligent security law works, and new clients receive a free copy after hiring our firm!

So if you, a friend, or a family member have been the victim of a sexual assault in an apartment complex or at a business establishment, contact us right away for a free consultation.

Free Resources for Sexual Assault Victims

Sexual assault counselors and psychologists are available to help victims deal with their physical and emotional injuries. Here are a few facilities you can contact for support:

RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (available 24 hours) - 1 (800) 656-HOPE

Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA)’s list of Rape Crisis Centers - https://www.gnesa.org/page/rape-crisis-centers-georgia

Civil Justice
Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb
Nation's Premiere 2022
Client Champion Silver 2021
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Expertise Best Workers Compensation Lawyers in Atlanta 2021
Expertise Best Car Accident Lawyers in Norcross 2021
Expertise Best Car Accident Lawyers in Conyers 2021
Expertise Best Workers Compensation Lawyers in Atlanta 2020
Expertise Best Car Accident Lawyers 2019
America's Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
MultiMillion Dollar Advocates Forum
Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers
Top 25 Brain Injury Trial Lawyers
Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyers
Top 10 Nursing Home Trial Lawyers
Super Lawyers
Voted Best of Gwinnett 2020
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Clients Choice
10 Best Attorney 2022
Keenan Trial Institute
Better Business Bureau
Telly Awards