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Holding Georgia Property Owners Responsible When Security Fails

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Atlanta Negligent Security Attorneys Explain Your Right to Safety

Large verdicts from negligent security lawsuits in favor of injured Georgia crime victims are raising awareness about the property owners' responsibility to protect people from third-party attacks.

Most recently, a $43 million verdict was upheld in the case of a man who was robbed and shot in an Atlanta pharmacy parking lot on Moreland Avenue. Store owners/operators knew the lot posed a high risk to customers, the court found, but did not make reasonable efforts to improve security.

Other recent, large verdicts in favor of victims include:

  • Nearly $70 million to a man shot in an Atlanta grocery store parking lot, also on Moreland
  • $52 million to the estate of a man who was fatally shot outside of an Atlanta convenience store

Sometimes property owners, as well as the person who attacked you, can be held liable for your injuries and other damages. Owners are legally obligated to stop, or at least make less likely, foreseeable crimes on their property.

Negligent Security vs. Premises Liability

Usually, when the subject of property liability comes up, it's because someone was injured by a physical hazard. Typical examples of premises liability cases include:

  • Slip and fall in a parking lot or inside a business
  • Neighborhood dog bite
  • Fall on uneven stairs at an event space

People are generally less aware of their right to security. When an owner fails to protect you from a violent attack or crime, it's an act of "negligent security." This is because property owners owe you protection from "foreseeable" crimes - illegal acts that most people would have seen coming. If a crime is unforeseeable or completely out of the blue, a property owner may not be liable.

This means a property owner could be held liable for injuries if they ignore or are unaware of active and/or foreseeable crime on their premises. The key is to talk to an attorney right away about your legal options. Negligent security cases are often complex and highly contested.

How to Prove Negligence

Typically, there are four parts to a successful negligent security lawsuit:

  • You were allowed to be on the property.
  • The owner owed you a duty of "ordinary care," which means providing reasonable safety and security measures or, in some cases, at least warning you of the risks.
  • The property owner failed to fulfill their duty of care. Examples of duty of care failures may include:
    • Failing to make security updates in response to similar crimes in the area or on the property
    • Lack of outdoor lighting
    • No security patrol
    • Poor quality locks
    • Missing security cameras
    • Broken windows
    • Worn down fence
    • Lax response time
    • Poorly maintained property
    • Skipped inspections
    • Shallow employee screening procedures
  • The crime or attack would not have happened if the owner had taken reasonable action to protect customers and other visitors.

When property owners do not take reasonable steps to protect you from foreseeable crime, they may be held responsible for any damages you suffer as a result.

Pursuing a Negligent Security Lawsuit

The Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. is a Georgia personal injury law firm with a strong reputation for getting our clients the justice and compensation they deserve.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a violent attack or crime on someone else's property, contact us today for a free case evaluation. At no cost to you, a member of our legal team can explain how the law applies to you and your legal options.

Our law firm proudly serves all of Georgia. We have offices in Atlanta, College Park, Duluth, Gainesville, Lithonia, and Marietta. Call, email, or chat online with us right now to schedule your free case evaluation. We are ready to hear from you today.

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