How Do You Prove Negligent Security?

Negligent Security

Whether you’re at a store, restaurant, office building, or entertainment venue – nearly every public establishment in Atlanta is responsible for keeping its guests safe. This also includes apartment complexes, college campuses, hotels, bars, and even stadiums. When a business does not protect its patrons from criminal activity, and someone is injured or killed on the property, that business can face a lawsuit for negligent security.

Crime rates are high in Metro Atlanta, and Georgia law expects property owners to be aware of the security risks and ready to take action.

Recent Negligent Security Cases

According to the newest GBI Crime Report, in 2017, there were 6235 burglaries, 6097 vehicle thefts, 4286 assaults, and 2354 robberies in Fulton County alone. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has also reported on several recent negligent security cases:

  • 2020: The mother of a Dunwoody man killed at his apartment sued the residential complex. She claimed the property owner failed to address security concerns after an increase of crime in the area and failed to warn residents about that criminal activity.
  • 2019: A woman sexually assaulted during a concert at an Atlanta nightclub sued the venue for inadequate security.
  • 2018: A 33-year-old woman sued a Brookhaven apartment complex for negligent security after a man accosted her, stole her purse, and then shot her in the leg. The apartment gates were not working at the time of the incident.
  • 2017: A concert-goer sued the City of Atlanta after being hit in the head by a skateboard, a promotional giveaway item, during a music festival. The man claimed that the city failed to provide adequate security for the event.
  • 2016: A 15-year-old boy was killed and 27-year-old man injured in a shooting at a South DeKalb apartment complex. An investigation revealed negligent security guards and malfunctioning apartment gates.

The Elements of a Negligent Security Case

A property owner has a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their guests, customers, and patrons. If someone is injured, robbed, or killed while on someone else’s property, this can lead to a negligent security lawsuit. The victim or their family must prove that the property owner knew, or reasonably should have known, about the crime risks and did nothing to prevent them. Methods of prevention include:

  • Installing doors, gates, or locks
  • Restricting access and using codes, keys, or keycards
  • Installing proper lighting on the property and parking area
  • Putting a fence around a property
  • Putting up security warning signs around the property
  • Installing a security system with cameras and alarms
  • Hiring and training security guards
  • Warning guests about potential dangers
  • Reporting any crimes that occur on the property

In a negligent security case, the victim must show that the property owner knew/should have known about the security risks – but failed to take reasonable care to protect its guests. They did not employ adequate safety and security measures. The victim must also prove that they were a guest on the property and suffered a serious crime because of the property owner’s negligence. In negligent security cases, Georgia courts may award victims compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, loss of wages, or property damage.

Have Additional Questions? Contact Zinns Law

When someone is the victim of a crime, it may be possible to bring a claim against the perpetrator(s) themselves. But Georgia law also provides victims the opportunity to file suit against those responsible for the safety and security of the property. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed on a commercial property, please reach out to us at (888) 882-9002 or via our website.