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A Complete Guide to Georgia Premises Liability Law

Premises liability is a legal doctrine that states that property owners are responsible for injuries victims sustain on their property due to their negligence. In Georgia, property owners are required to make a reasonable effort to maintain safety on their premises. 

Do I Have a Valid Premises Liability Claim?

Have you or your loved one been injured on another person’s property due to the property owner’s negligence? In that case, you may be eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit against the landowner for compensation. Premises liability laws vary from state to state. A premises liability law that would apply in another state may not apply in Georgia. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands Georgia premises liability laws. 

Landowners in Georgia Have a Duty to Keep Their Properties Safe

Under Georgia premises liability law, a property owner or occupier has a legal obligation to use “ordinary care” to keep their property safe for visitors. The legal obligation to exercise “ordinary care” depends on the type of visitor in question. There are three main classifications of visitors to another person’s property — invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Specifically, Georgia Code Section 51-3-1 defines the reasonable effort to keep premises safe as the “duty of owner or occupier of land to an invitee.” Invitees can be invited onto the property “by express or implied invitation,” meaning that the invitee has entered the property lawfully and with permission. The owner’s duty extends to the property and it’s approaches. For example, the entries and other parties the invitee will need to cross to gain entrance to the property.  

A Premises Liability Lawsuit is a Type of Personal Injury Lawsuit

A premises liability lawsuit is a specific type of lawsuit that falls under the legal umbrella of personal injury lawsuits. Most personal injury lawsuits, including premises liability lawsuits, involve negligence. Negligence can be defined as a failure to act with the standard of care that an ordinary person facing the same or similar circumstances would have acted. In other words, most premises liability lawsuits do not involve a property owner who intended to hurt a person who came onto their property. 

Instead, most causes involve a property owner whose negligence or carelessness resulted in a dangerous condition on their property, resulting in an innocent person’s injury. Some of the most common locations for Georgia premises liability accidents include the following:

  • Homes
  • Bars
  • Amusement parks
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Small businesses
  • Grocery stores
  • Public spaces
  • Office buildings
  • Retail stores
  • Movie theaters
  • Staircases
  • Restaurants
  • Places of employment
  • Hotels and resorts


Invitees are visitors that have an express or implied invitation from a property owner. In Georgia, property owners owe invitees the highest standard of care. Property owners are legally required to know about any hazards on their property that could injure invitees. They must make reasonable efforts to eliminate those hazards and warn invitees of any potential hazards. Examples of invitees include a friend asking another friend to visit their home. The visiting friend is considered an invitee. Customers who walk into a store during open hours are also considered invites. 


A licensee also has express or implied consent from a property owner. However, licensees enter the premises, unlike an invitee, for their own purposes. Usually, the licensee’s purpose does not have a connection with the property owner’s interest. A licensee visits for his or her own interests, convenience, or gratification. Regarding licensees in Georgia, property owners can only be held liable for “willful or wanton” injuries that occur on their property. Victims need to prove that a reckless act on the property owner’s part caused the injuries they sustained.

Do Trespassers Have Premises Liability Rights in Georgia?

Property owners do not owe a legal duty of care to trespassers other than to not cause willful and wanton injuries to trespassers on their property. There are some exceptions to this general rule. If property conditions exist that create an “attractive nuisance,” property owners can be held responsible when a child trespasses onto their property and becomes injured or dies. According to Georgia’s doctrine of attractive nuisance, property owners must take necessary steps to prevent children who trespass from injuring themselves on enticing, harmful conditions or objects. 

What is the Statute of Limitations on Premises Liability Claims in Georgia?

Individuals who become injured on another person’s property only have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. Every state imposes statutes of limitations which are timelines for filing personal injury lawsuits. In Georgia, victims of premises liability only have two years to file a lawsuit in civil court. Generally, the statute of limitation begins on the date of the injury. If you fail to file a claim within two years of the date you became injured, you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation through a lawsuit.

How to Prove the Elements in a Premises Liability Case in Georgia

As the victim in a premises liability case, you will need to prove four elements. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after the accident can help you ensure important evidence is protected and does not disappear. An attorney can immediately begin investigating your case and gathering evidence proving all of the elements of a premises liability claim. One of the most important parts of succeeding in a Georgia premises liability claim is proving that you were invited to the property or had a legal right to be there. 

A Standard of Care Existed

Property owners are not the only ones who can be held liable in premises liability cases. Anyone who exercises control over the property conditions where the incident occurred can be found liable for the victim’s damages. As a result, a property owner, manager, or someone who leases the property can be held liable. Georgia premises liability law recognizes that different standards of care can apply to property owners or operators. For example, a property owner may have greater responsibility for unsafe conditions within the building than a landlord who does not have full control.

The Defendant Breached the Standard of Care

Next, the plaintiff who brings a premises liability lawsuit must prove that the unsafe conditions on the property caused their injuries. Proving that a dangerous condition existed could be relatively easy or could be difficult, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, finding evidence of the substance could be challenging if a victim slipped on a dangerously slippery surface and the property owner immediately cleaned the surface up after the accident. If you can safely do so, it is wise to take photos of the site of the accident on your phone after it occurs to protect yourself. 

Proving Causation

Proving causation can be one of the most difficult aspects of succeeding in a premises liability lawsuit. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant’s action or inaction directly caused your injuries. It is not enough to show that a hazardous condition on the property caused your injury to succeed. Instead, you need to prove that the defendant’s lack of care caused the hazard. 

In other words, their mere existence of an unsafe condition is not enough to sustain a premises liability lawsuit. You must show that the property owner failed to use reasonable care to protect invitees or licensees on the property. As has been stated, the specific legal duty of care owed by the landlord depends on whether the injured party was an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.


The Plaintiff Suffered Damages

The plaintiff must be able to prove that the injury they sustained was sufficient to cause damages. For example, if a victim slipped and fell on a wet floor in a retail location but did not suffer any damages other than a small bruise that went away in a week, pursuing a claim for compensation would not be possible. 

The term ‘damages’ encompass all the financial harms a victim suffered due to the accident. Damages include economic damages that are easily quantifiable, such as current and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, property damage, and more. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other damages that are more difficult to quantify.


Georgia’s Contributory Negligence Law

Georgia is one of only a few states that implement the doctrine of contributory negligence when it comes to recovering damages in personal injury lawsuits. According to Georgia Code Section 51-12-33, when a defendant’s negligence is partially responsible for the injury the victim sustained, the court must determine the extent of that responsibility. 

Courts will reduce any damages awarded to the victim accordingly. If the court determines that the victim was more than 50  % responsible for their own injury, the victim will lose all rights to recover damages. For this reason, it is crucial that premises liability victims reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can gather evidence and negotiate aggressively with the defendant, presenting evidence that you were not at fault for the incident. If you were partially at fault, an attorney might be able to negotiate the percentage of your fault down so you can recover the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.

Slip and Fall Accidents in Georgia Premises Liability Law

Slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of premises liability lawsuits. These accidents can occur in nearly any location, from retail stores to job sites. When a customer slips on the broken pavement outside of a store, for example, the property owner may try to avoid paying you damages by arguing that a reasonable person would have noticed that the pavement was broken and not walked on that pavement. An attorney can work to help you prove that a reasonable person would have also slipped and fallen in the same or similar conditions so you can obtain compensation. 

Georgia law categorizes slip, trip, and fall cases into two separate categories. The first category involves cases in which a “static defect” is involved, such as broken pavement. The second category involves foreign substances, such as a pool of water. 

Common Causes of Premises Liability Injuries

When a property owner, occupier, or manager fails to reasonably protect their customers, guests, or others with the right to be on the property, they can be held liable for accidental injuries victims suffer on their properties. Premises liability lawsuits are a broad category of personal injury law that can include a variety of claims and situations. These types of legal claims can occur on residential and commercial property.

Negligent Security

Part of managing a property is to provide safe premises for customers, tenants, and employees. When victims are injured in robberies, break-ins, or due to an act of vandalism, the business can come under scrutiny for having poor security practices. 

For example, if the owner of an apartment complex knows that multiple incidents of assault and rape have occurred in dark staircases at the apartment complex, they have a legal obligation to use reasonable measures to protect guests in the future. If another guest were to be assaulted on a dark staircase, the victim could claim that the landowner’s negligent security practices caused their injuries. Faulty locks, alarm systems, and a lack of security personnel can also lead to foreseeable injuries and negligent security claims.

Lack of Maintenance

Many different types of building elements can become dangerous if they are not properly maintained. Faulty elevators, light fixtures, staircases, and appliances can all cause injuries. For example, if an elevator or appliance malfunctions due to a lack of maintenance, a visitor or tenant may become injured. If an elevator drops suddenly and hits another person, the landlord or building manager can be held liable. 

Unrestrained, Dangerous Dogs

Property owners have a legal duty to keep their dogs restrained, especially when the dog has aggressive tendencies. If a dog causes another person injury because of the owner’s lack of training, their failure to leash the dog, or the absence of a fence, the owner can be held responsible for any resulting damages. 

Swimming Pool Accidents and Drownings in Georgia

Swimming pools offer a great way to cool off on a long, hot, Georgia summer day. Unfortunately, Georgia residents become injured or die in swimming pool accidents every year. Patrons of a public swimming pool may slip and fall due to hazardous conditions, suffering serious injuries. 

A swimmer could find themselves struggling to stay afloat while a negligent lifeguard is texting instead of rescuing the victim. In other cases, a property owner may know that neighborhood children tend to enter his property and fail to put a fence around the pool. In all of these situations, victims or their surviving family members may have a right to pursue a premises liability lawsuit.

Public Pool Accidents

Lack of proper maintenance, lack of trained lifeguards, and dangerous conditions in and around the pool can all cause deadly accidents. Obtaining compensation after an injury or death that occurred at a public pool can be challenging. For example, if a government entity owned the public pool, the victims or surviving family members would need to pursue a claim against the government agency that owned and maintained the pool, such as a municipality or city. 

The victim would likely need to file a notice of their intent to sue the government before pursuing a claim. Generally, there are strict deadlines for filing notices with municipalities. Failure to follow these rules precisely could result in your ability to move forward with your premises liability attorney. 

Private Pool Accidents

Homeowners with a pool in their yards are legally obligated to ensure the pools are safe and functioning properly. Installing a fence can ensure children do not accidentally fall into the pool. A faulty drain can result in a dangerous suction hazard that could trap a swimmer underwater, causing serious injury or death.

Private pool owners generally have insurance policies. Insurance providers may reach out to injury victims or their surviving family members to try to negotiate a settlement. A settlement can be the best option, but most initial settlement offers are far too low. An attorney can aggressively negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. 

What Damages Can I Win From a Premises Liability Lawsuit in Georgia?

Recovering compensation from a personal injury lawsuit often puts a strain on a victim’s family and their personal life. Attorneys can negotiate for a settlement that accounts for all of their many damages. When determining what damages you can receive for a premises liability claim in Georgia, you need to take your injuries and losses into consideration. If you have been injured due to a property owner’s lack of care, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the following types of recoverable damages:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages and income
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life
  • Property damage
  • Psychological trauma

No two situations are totally identical. Several details may affect the value and outcome of the claim. When pursuing a premises liability claim in Georgia, legal teams and other parties need to gather any available evidence to aid in establishing a liable party and negotiating damages.

Dealing With Injuries and Pursuing Compensation in a Premises Liability Claim

Injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents and other premises liability accidents can be devastating. Victims with preexisting medical conditions are at a greater risk of suffering substantial health complications from even a single fall. For example, elderly individuals are at a higher risk for personal injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and hip fractures. Other potentially severe injuries include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Sprains
  • Bruising
  • Scrapes

Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may incur substantial medical bills for their ongoing treatment. Even a sprain could require significant medical attention. When a victim suffers injuries that prevent them from returning to work, the losses will be compounded. Severe injuries such as TBIs and paralysis can result in millions of dollars of expenses over a person’s lifetime. Working with a skilled attorney can help you properly evaluate the current and future damages you will incur. After working with financial and medical experts to correctly value your claim, your attorney can begin aggressively pursuing the recovery you deserve.

Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia

What happens when a victim dies from injuries that occur on another person’s property? The victim’s surviving family members may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. Family members may have a valid claim for compensation against a business, property owner, homeowner, or another responsible party. While nothing can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you and your family move forward by providing compensation for the following:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Final bills of your loved one, including medical bills before the decedent’s death
  • Lost inheritance
  • The decedent’s lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of the decedent’s love and companionship
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional pain and suffering

Your attorney may be able to identify additional recoverable damages related to your loved one’s injuries and death. It may be possible to pursue survival damages that can significantly increase the value of your wrongful death case under some circumstances. 

Contact a Georgia Premises Liability Attorney Today

Is a negligent property owner responsible for your personal injuries or property damage? If so, you may have a right to hold them responsible for their misconduct or negligence. Every premises liability lawsuit is unique and an attorney can investigate all of the details in your case to arrive at a fair settlement amount. 

An attorney will also be able to help you understand your legal rights and options so you can make informed decisions. You only have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation after a premises liability incident. Contact Atlanta premises liability attorney James Rice to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.

How to Determine if You Have a Negligent Security Claim

When we walk into a hotel, restaurant, business, or another location, we have the right to expect that the property owner has kept their property reasonably safe. When innocent people become injured as the victims of crimes on other people’s property, they may have a right to pursue a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner. 

To bring a negligent security lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner failed to protect them from a foreseeable injury. If you have been injured on another person’s property and the accident was not your fault, you may have a valid negligent security claim for compensation.

What is a Negligent Security Claim?

When property owners fail to secure their land or facilities against dangerous criminals, the victim of the crime may have a civil claim for compensation against the property owner. Victims of crimes on other people’s property may be able to obtain damages for their past and future medical treatment and other losses they have suffered because of the injurious crime. Some of the most common types of crimes involved in negligent security claims include assault, rape, and armed robbery.

Common Examples of Negligence Security That Contributes to Criminal Activity 

Property owners have a legal obligation to keep their properties reasonably safe for people who come on to them. Criminal activity can occur when property owners fail to keep their properties reasonably safe, and innocent victims can become seriously injured. Some examples of negligence that could lead to negligence security injuries include the following:

  • Open or broken locks
  • Open gates
  • Lack of security guards or forces
  • Lack of security precautions or practices in enclosed areas
  • Failure to reasonably screen employees for past criminal history
  • Failing to monitor or simply lacking an electronic security system
  • Not installing, monitoring, or maintaining security cameras
  • Poor or non-existing lighting in stairways, hallways, parking lots, or other potentially dangerous areas

Some of the measures property owners can take to avoid foreseeable criminal activities include:

  • Installing proper lighting in dangerous areas
  • Locking windows and doors, when appropriate
  • Installing and monitoring security cameras
  • Maintaining property regularly and keeping security measures up-to-date
  • Gating entrances with gates that close automatically
  • Employing security guards

Where Do Negligent Security Cases Happen?

Unfortunately, criminal activity can happen anywhere, even in relatively safe areas. Anytime someone becomes injured on another person’s property due to a foreseeable crime, a negligence security incident has occurred. Some of the most common locations that result in negligent security cases arise out of the following areas:

  • Parking garages
  • Alleyways in between businesses
  • Apartment complexes
  • Hotels
  • Parking lots
  • Nightclubs and bars
  • College campuses
  • Bus stops

Can I Sue a Parking Garage for Negligent Security?

Georgia parking lot owners have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep their guests and customer safe while they are using and accessing the parking lot. This includes taking steps to prevent assault or tax that are foreseeable. Suppose you have been the victim of a crime that happened at a parking lot because the parking lot owner or parking garage owner failed to provide adequate security. In that case, you may have a valid negligent security claim for compensation. Proving liability depends on the individual case, but in general, a parking garage owner can be held responsible if they fail to do any of the following:

  • Maintain functional lighting, such as repairing broken light fixtures and replacing burned-out bulbs
  • Provide sufficient lighting so customers do not have to walk through dark areas of parking garages that could be unsafe
  • Warn parking garage users about foreseeable dangers
  • Repair doors, fences, gates, and alarm systems
  • Respond appropriately to warnings, alerts, threats, and other situations that would cause a reasonable person to have security concerns
  • Install security cameras, especially if the parking lot or garage is in a high crime area or there has already been an adverse security event such as a mugging or an assault
  • Upgrade existing security devices and protocols if multiple criminal acts occur in or around the parking garage

Can I Sue an Apartment Complex for Negligent Security?

Every individual has the right to feel a sense of security in their own home. If you were a tenant renting an apartment building, you have specific rights to be reasonably protected from crime and other dangerous conditions in your apartment complex.

Landlords owe their tenants, and their tenants guess irresponsibility to keep them safe. The installation of security measures helps protect residences from criminal activities, such as burglary, assault, and other violent criminal acts. Burglaries in apartment complexes and rental properties account for a significant percentage of all burglaries in the United States. Criminal acts in apartment complexes and other rental properties continue to be a threat to renters.

Keeping tenants safe can involve providing them with well-lit parking lots, adequate door locks, and video surveillance measures. It can also mean ensuring that other tenants renting do not have a criminal past. A landlord should ensure tenants are not conducting criminal activity while on their premises. For example, if a landlord knows that a tenant is dealing drugs and does nothing to stop it, they could be held liable through a negligent security case.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me?

If you have been injured in a crime, talking to an attorney may be the last thing on your mind. You may be in the hospital or recovering from painful, serious injuries. However, speaking to an attorney is crucial. You only have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim for compensation. If you wait too long to talk to an attorney, important evidence in your case could begin to disappear or become unavailable. When you speak to an attorney quickly after the incident, 

Your attorney can begin tracking down and interviewing witnesses, recovering the police report, and gathering important evidence that may be harder to find the more time passes after the incident. You may begin receiving phone calls from insurance adjusters trying to pressure you to settle your case. 

The last thing you need to deal with is insurance adjusters pressuring you to take a far too-low offer. An attorney can level the playing field and handle all communication with the insurance adjuster and the defendant. An attorney can also ensure you develop an effective legal strategy, giving you the best chance possible to obtain the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. 

How to Prove Negligent Security in an Apartment Complex Case

If a criminal act has injured you or your loved one in your apartment complex or rental, you can pursue a negligent security lawsuit against your landowner. You must prove that your landlord did not take reasonable measures to ensure your protection, resulting in a criminal attack that led to your injuries. In negligent security cases involving apartment complexes, many factors can determine whether a crime was foreseeable on a residential property or not, including the following:

  • Whether there was a previous criminal attack on the premises that the landlord was aware of and did not provide updated security measures
  • Whether the landlord failed to discuss the previous criminal attacks on the premises with the tenants
  • Whether the complex is in a neighborhood with high crime levels

The lack of adequate security measures in an apartment complex can lead to violent attacks such as shootings, salts, and theft. If you have been injured in a crime that happened in your apartment complex or other rental location, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. 

Failure to Protect Residents or Guests From Dangerous Visitors

Many criminal activities resulting from injuries happen when landlords fail to protect their guests and residents from dangerous visitors. Property owners can be held liable when they do not ensure they are preventing illegal acts that could facilitate one visitor harming another. For example, if one guest at a bar has been over-served alcohol and is obviously intoxicated. Still, if servers continue to bring them drinks, the bar can be held responsible for continuing to serve the guest if a fight breaks out and the guest injures someone while intoxicated.

Similarly, hotel owners have a duty to keep their guests reasonably safe from foreseeable harm. For example, suppose someone comes onto the hotel property and acts erratically and dangerously. In that case, the hotel is responsible for calling law enforcement and dealing with the threat instead of ignoring it. If the erratic individual goes on to harm one of the guests at the hotel, the victim will likely be able to recover compensation from the hotel owner.

Broken or Missing Security Elements

In addition to installing security measures, landlords should ensure that the security measures are well-maintained and not broken. For example, suppose the landlord of an apartment complex knows that the security fence has been broken and needs repair for months. In that case, they can be held liable if a criminal enters the property through the broken fence and injures someone at the property. 

Similarly, if an apartment complex has large lights that keep the parking lot well-lit, but one or more of those lights is broken, and a crime occurs, the landlord may be financially responsible for the victim’s injuries. Another example would be a deadbolt lock in a hotel room not working because it is broken. If a criminal unlawfully breaks into a guest room and steals from them or assaults them, the victim could hold the property owner responsible for negligent security.

The Elements Plaintiffs Must Prove to Establish a Negligent Security Claim

To succeed in a negligent security case in Georgia, you must prove several elements by providing evidence. The three main elements you will need to prove to win a negligent security case are as follows:

  • The property owner or manager was legally required to provide adequate security at the location you were insured
  • The defendant failed to provide reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal activity
  • Your injuries resulted because of the defend ant’s inadequate security measures

Proving That a Foreseeable Criminal Activity Occurred

Property owners are not required to prevent every conceivable type of criminal activity on their property. However, they do have an obligation to put measures in place to prevent foreseeable criminal activities. Proving a negligent security case frequently comes down to proving that the criminal activity that happened to you was foreseeable. 

Property owners have a legal obligation to consider and act in ways that protect their customers, clients, guests, or others who are legally on their property from threats to their safety while they are on their property. For example, suppose there is a history of criminal activity in the parking lot of an apartment complex. It would be reasonable to assume that a similar criminal activity in the future could harm someone in the parking lot. 

If the property owner fails to increase protection and safety against a known threat, victims can hold them liable for their damages. An experienced attorney can help you investigate and uncover whether the previous criminal activity at or around the premises had occurred. Even if there is evidence of prior crimes in the area where you were injured, you maybe be able to prove that the owner had “constructive” knowledge that an incident may occur.

Proving an Actual Harm Occurred

To recover compensation after a crime is committed on someone else’s property, the victim needs to prove that they have suffered actual harm. A successful legal claim for negligent security requires some type of actual physical injury. For example, if a victim had a close call but managed to escape the situation without being physically injured, they would not be able to get damages from the parking garage. However, suppose the incident leaves you with actual injuries. In that case, you have a right to bring a lawsuit against the parking garage owner for your losses because of negligent security.

Protecting Your Legal Claim for Compensation

The steps you take after being injured in a negligent security case can help or hurt your claim for compensation. After you have been injured, you should call 911 and ask for an ambulance and for a police officer to come to the scene of the incident. The police officer will write a police report including information about the crime. The police report can help you prove that a criminal incident occurred and caused your injuries. It is also important to obtain medical care as soon as possible after you have been injured. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the defendant may try to claim that you weren’t injured and are not entitled to compensation. 

If you do not go to the emergency room after the accident, you should visit your own doctor and undergo a thorough examination. Do not refrain from telling your doctor about all of your symptoms and the pain you are experiencing. Sometimes it takes a while for all of the symptoms to become known after a traumatic incident due to the shock and adrenaline involved. You may want to keep a journal of the pain and symptoms you experience each day. You should also write down any time you have to take off work and any activities you can no longer enjoy or engage in because of your injuries. 

Taking your injury seriously and receiving medical treatment will help you recover, and it will help you in your future personal injury case. It is important that you follow all of your doctor’s orders, take all of your prescribed medication, and attend any necessary specialist appointments, such as physical and occupational therapy. Whether you pursue an insurance claim through the property owner’s commercial insurance policy or a personal injury lawsuit, keeping track of your records can help you prove that you are entitled to the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

How Much is My Negligent Security Claim Worth?

The best way to understand the value of your potential claim is to discuss your case with an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you estimate the value of your damages. If you have been seriously injured, you will benefit from working with financial and medical experts who can estimate the future medical and lifestyle expenses you experience going forward. Under Georgia personal injury laws, plaintiffs can pursue two different types of damages through a negligent security law: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easily quantifiable monetary losses that result from your injuries, such as medical expenses. 

Many victims of criminal activity experience significant medical expenses that may include rehabilitation, physical therapy, surgeries, hospitalizations, and mental health care due to the trauma of the accident.  You can also recover your lost wages and loss of future income if you can no longer work because of your injury. Victims can also pursue compensation for property damage. 

Victims of crimes frequently experience significant non-economic damages because of the trauma of the incident. Non-economic damages include compensation for physical pain, suffering, and emotional distress. 

How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Negligent Security Claim?

There are time limits, also called statutes of limitations, for every type of lawsuit, including negligent security lawsuits. Statutes of limitations set general deadlines for filing civil cases. If you do not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you could lose your ability to pursue compensation for your injuries. The best way to find out whether you still have time to file a claim is to discuss your case with a negligent security attorney who can advise you on the statute of limitations that applies to your case. 

In most cases, you only have two years to file a negligent security claim in Georgia. Two years may seem like a lot of time, but it is not. Investigations into negligence security can take months. If disputes are related to your injuries or the cause of the incident, it can take even longer. Speaking to an attorney after you receive medical treatment can help you protect your claim and will allow your attorney to investigate and gather evidence on your behalf.

Wrongful Death Claims Involving Negligent Security

Negligence security cases frequently involve violent attacks, including knife attacks and gunshot wounds. Sadly, victims of negligent security may suffer fatal injuries resulting in wrongful death. Suppose the victim of the crime did not incite the attack, and the crime happened because the property owner failed to keep the premises reasonably safe from foreseeable crimes. In that case, the victim’s surviving family members have a right to pursue a wrongful death claim. The victim’s spouse, children, and parents are all potential claimants. Additionally, in Georgia, estate representatives can file a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim allows a victim’s loved ones to recover compensation for their loved one’s care, companionship, and medical expenses before they passed away. If your deceased family member was your family’s breadwinner, surviving family members can also recover damages to cover their lost household income. Funeral and burial expenses can also be recovered. While nothing can bring your loved one back, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you hold the responsible party accountable and recover the compensation your family needs to move forward. 

Discuss Your Case With a Negligent Security Attorney in Atlanta

If you have been the victim of a crime on another person’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a negligent security lawsuit. If you have questions about whether you have a valid negligent security claim, attorney James A. Rice is here to help you. He offers potential clients a free, no-obligation consultation. During your consultation, you can ask questions and learn more about whether you have a valid legal claim. He can also help you understand an estimate of the potential value of your claim. Contact James A. Rice today to learn how he can fight for you.

Negligent Security: How to Determine if You Have a Claim

Property owners have a legal obligation to keep their premises reasonably safe for their guests and customers. If you have suffered an injury from an assault on another person’s property, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. When property owners fail to keep their properties reasonably safe, and someone becomes injured, the injured party can pursue a negligent security lawsuit for damages. 


If you suffered injuries because of a lack of security on someone else’s property, it is important to understand your rights. Whether or not you have a claim depends on the facts of your case. Generally speaking, if a property owner or manager caused or contributed to your damages, you would benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney. Atlanta attorney James Rice is here to help. During a complimentary case evaluation, he will listen to the facts in your case and help you understand whether you have a valid negligent security claim. Contact James Rice today to schedule your free case evaluation. 


What is Negligent Security?

Negligent security, sometimes called premises security, is a legal cause of action. Victims can bring a negligent security lawsuit against property owners when they have been injured on their property because of a lack of reasonable security. Most negligent security cases involve an injury caused by a violent attack. Examples of criminal activity that could result in injuries include armed robberies, assault, battery, mass shootings, sexual assault, and murder.


For example, suppose a customer is assaulted in a dark parking lot due to a lack of reasonable security. In that case, the victim can pursue a negligent security claim against the parking lot owner. Personal injury victims commonly file negligent security lawsuits against the property owners and managers of a wide range of properties, including the following:


  • Shopping malls
  • Apartment complexes
  • Hospitals
  • Retail stores
  • Schools
  • Parking garages. 


Is Negligent Security Different From Inadequate Security?

Proving that you were injured because of inadequate security is insufficient to succeed in a premises liability lawsuit. Proving that a landlord did not have adequate security is just the beginning of negligent security cases. In addition to proving that the security was inadequate, the plaintiff also needs to prove that the landlords are legally liable for their damages. Plaintiffs must prove that the property owner or manager was legally required to provide adequate security at the location and failed to provide reasonable security measures. 


In addition to proving that the security was inadequate in your case, you will also need to prove that the landlord acted unreasonably by not providing you with better security measures. Many cases come down to whether or not the security measures that would have prevented the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonable and foreseeable. Proving these elements requires hours of research, interviews, and work with third-party experts. Your attorney will need to gather evidence showing that the owner or operator had constructive knowledge that an incident could occur and failed to take reasonable actions to prevent it from happening.


Elements You Will Need to Prove to Succeed in a Negligent Security Lawsuit

Generally, people do not have a legal duty to protect others from criminal acts by unknown third parties. For example, if a person is walking down the sidewalk and sees another person being assaulted, they will not have a legal obligation to take action. However, property owners have a legal duty to use reasonable care to keep their properties safe for people who come onto their property, as long as they are not trespassers. In Georgia, business owners have a legal duty to provide their customers was reasonable protection from foreseeable criminal activity. 


To succeed in a negligent security case, you must prove that the property owner failed to provide reasonable protection from injury. You also need to prove that the criminal activity that caused your injuries, such as an assault, is considered foreseeable criminal activity. Property owners are not legally responsible for preventing every possible type of criminal activity from occurring on their property. 


However, if they could reasonably foresee that someone would be assaulted in the location where you were injured, you can hold them accountable for a lawsuit. Proving the elements of a negligent security lawsuit requires a thorough investigation into your case. A skilled attorney can investigate the cause of your injuries, whether there have been any other complaints about the assault, and interview witnesses. All of this evidence can help you prove your case.


Did You Enter the Property With the Permission of the Landowner?

Landowners are so different types of legal duties to different types of individuals. For example, landowners do not owe trespassers on their property the same type of legal duties they owe customers or tenants. To recover compensation through a negligent security lawsuit, you must show that you had permission to be on the landowner’s property when the incident that caused your injuries occurred. 


For example, you will need to show that you were a customer or potential customer of a business, a tenant, or a guest of the property owner. Property owners are not obligated to provide trespassers with reasonable protection from foreseeable harm. Trespassers injured on another person’s property by the criminal conduct of a third party will not have a claim for negligent security.


Proving Reasonable Protection

Many negligent security cases hinge on whether the property owner failed to take steps to protect clear customers and guests reasonably. There is no singular rule about what constitutes reasonable protection. Instead, what constitutes reasonable protection depends on the case’s specific facts. Providing reasonable protection may require landowners to utilize the following effectively:


  • Security guards
  • Security cameras
  • Adequate lighting
  • Security hardware, such as locks and gates


Proving Foreseeable Criminal Activity

Additionally, you will need to prove that the criminal activity that caused your injuries was foreseeable to the property owner. Foreseeability means that the owner was put on notice that the type of criminal activity that happened to you was likely to occur on their property. You also need to prove that the landowner failed to take proper precautions to protect people from these specific types of criminal activity that occurred in your case. Georgia courts will determine whether the criminal activity was foreseeable case-by-case.


Substantially Similar Crimes

When a substantially similar crime had previously occurred on the property, you can prove the element of foreseeability. For example, if you were attacked in a dark stairwell in your apartment complex and another tenant had been attacked two weeks ago in the same staircase, you can prove that the crime was foreseeable. When property owners know of prior criminal acts on their premises, it is foreseeable that similar crimes could occur in the future. Landlords are legally responsible for taking precautions to prevent another incident of a similar type of crime from happening on their property.


A Volatile Situation Was Emerging

Proving the foreseeable element can include proving that a volatile situation emerged on the property owner’s premises. For example, a fight may have broken out, or threats may have been made on the property. This type of activity puts the property owner on notice that criminal activity may occur in the near future. The property owner is responsible for abating these types of volatile situations by calling the police, for example, to ensure that people entering the premises remain safe. 


The Incident Occurred in a High-Crime Area

Additionally, plaintiffs can prove the foreseeability element By showing that the premises at which they were injured are a high-crime area. When there is a history of significant criminal activity on and around the property, the property owner has a duty to take necessary precautionary measures to prevent more crime. For example,  the owner of a parking lot located in a safe area without a history of criminal activity may not have a legal duty to install security cameras or hire security personnel. However, suppose the parking lot is located in an area with significant criminal activity, including burglary and assault. In that case, a crime occurring that could hurt a customer will be considered foreseeable to the property owner.


Proving Causation

In addition to approving foreseeability, you need to prove that you were injured due to the owner’s failure to use reasonable security measures. This element is called the causation element and can be challenging to prove. For example, if a person broke into your apartment and stole multiple valuable items, you may recover if you can prove that the lock on your door was faulty. Your claim will be even more persuasive if you can show that you had reported the faulty lock to your landlord, and they had not taken action to fix the problem. In other words, you will need to prove that the landowner’s negligence directly caused the injuries you suffered.


How Much is My Case Worth?

Finally, you will need to prove the elements of damages to recover compensation. Victims of negligent security are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include easily quantifiable costs associated with your injury. For example, suppose you were assaulted in a dark parking lot and suffered a concussion,  a broken bone, and lacerations. In that case, you can recover compensation for all the medical expenses you incurred treating those injuries. 


In addition to recovery and compensation for the medical expenses you have already incurred, you can also pursue compensation for your future medical expenses. The more severely a victim has been injured, the more medical expenses they will incur in the future. Attorney James Rice has extensive experience valuing damages for clients who have been injured and negligent security cases. When necessary, he will work with medical and financial experts to carefully estimate the full value of your claim, including your future medical expenses.


Plaintiffs can also recover compensation for property damage and lost income. If you cannot return to work because you have been disabled from your injuries, you can pursue compensation for your lost earning potential. You will also be able to recover compensation for the time off of work you had to take to recover, along with any employee benefits you may have missed because of your injuries.


Damages for Pain and Suffering

Victims of criminal activities can suffer physical injuries and serious mental health challenges after being assaulted. As part of a negligent security lawsuit, you can pursue damages for your anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and suffering, and more. Recovering from being the victim of criminal activity can take time and require ongoing therapy and mental health services. Pursuing a lawsuit can help you recover compensation for all of your noneconomic damages, allowing you to move forward. 


The Best Way to Determine Whether You Have a Claim

As you can see, there are multiple legal elements you will need to prove to recover compensation in a negligent security lawsuit. Understanding the basic elements that make up these types of lawsuits can help you as you move forward. However, the best way to determine whether or not you have a valid negligent security lawsuit is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Premises liability lawsuits require an in-depth investigation. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin gathering and preserving evidence and developing an effective legal strategy for your case.


Schedule a Complimentary, No-Obligation Consultation

Have you or your loved one been injured by criminal activity on another person’s property? If so, you may be entitled to compensation through a negligent security lawsuit. Proving the elements of negligence security can be challenging, and you will benefit from working with an experienced attorney. Atlanta attorney James Rice Will help you understand your legal options and pursue the full and fair amount of compensation you need and deserve. You only have a limited time frame to file a negligent security lawsuit. Contact attorney James Rice today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.

Can You Sue a Security Company?

This article was last updated on Aug. 17th, 2022

Short answer: Yes. In lawsuits where a security a guard has been negligent, it is often the land or property owner employing the security company, and the security company employing the guard, who are both named as defendants. Typically, such lawsuits are under the legal theory of premises liability.

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Landlord Liability And You

Landlord Liability And You

Can my lease prevent me from filing a negligent security case?

Most apartments use standard leases which have provisions that they may use to try to prevent you from filing a lawsuit for landlord liability if your loved one has been sexually assaulted, shot, murdered, etc. These are often referred to as exculpatory clauses. Exculpatory evidence is favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial, which is why landlords prefer them, hoping it will except them from landlord liability claims or lawsuits.

Although the insurance carrier’s lawyer will often use these in an effort to defeat a claim, the Georgia Supreme Court has held that such clauses are unenforceable as they are against public policy.

Negligent Security vs. a Place to Live

We have all rented apartments and know the drill. Typically, there is an inexperienced leasing agent who simply asks you to “check here, check here” through multiple lease documents. It is rare that anyone reads the lease and even rarer that it is explained to you. In fact, most people will say that the leasing agent presses you to simply sign and move forward with the other documents that need to be signed.

So what happens if you have a claim or need a lawyer, but you signed the lease?

First, don’t panic. Any exculpatory clause is likely unenforceable against you, but nonetheless, the insurance carrier may tell you otherwise. Second, speak to an experienced negligent security lawyer who handles cases involving the negligence of an apartment, mall or other business with insufficient security. That lawyer will likely explain to you the likelihood that such clauses are unenforceable.

Do you still have to sign the lease??

That decision will always be yours and certainly whether or not the apartment will allow you to enter into a lease without that specific provision is doubtful. However, an apartment owner cannot abolish their own duty to keep the premises safe through a lease. The landlord has a duty under Georgia law to keep the premises safe for you, or suffer landlord liability. Certainly, we all understand all crime in all places cannot be prevented. However, an apartment and its management company should do everything reasonable to keep it safe for you. Simply putting in a provision in a lease cannot allow them to escape liability!

A Guide to the Four Elements of Negligence

Most personal injury claims are brought based on negligence. The plaintiff who sues the defendant must prove that the defendant acted negligently by failing to use reasonable care under the circumstances. To have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove the four distinct elements with supporting evidence. We will take a look at each of these elements to understand what it takes to build a strong personal injury claim.

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What is the Difference Between Civil Negligence and Criminal Negligence?

If you have been seriously injured in an accident, you may have heard the term ‘negligence.’ To obtain compensation from the person or company who caused your injuries, you will need to show that they acted negligently. Negligence means failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances. There is a difference between criminal and civil negligence. 

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What is the Difference Between Ordinary Negligence and Gross Negligence?

If you are planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant acted negligently. The legal theory of negligence is important in personal injury lawsuits. There are several elements you will need to prove to show negligence. A personal injury attorney will gather evidence showing clear and convincing evidence that every element has been met. Two main types of negligence could apply to your case, ordinary negligence and gross negligence. If you are interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you understand the difference between these two legal theories.

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What is Premises Liability Law?

You may not have heard the phrase premises liability, but you are probably familiar with accidents that happened on other people’s property. Slip and fall accidents, dog bite injuries, and swimming pool accidents fall under premises liability law. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure that their property is reasonably safe for their guests and customers. When property owners act negligently and their negligence causes another person’s injury, they may be financially liable. Victims of premises liability accidents have a right to bring a lawsuit against the property owner who caused their injuries in Georgia.

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A Guide to Comparative Negligence in Georgia

If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, such as a car accident or a slip and fall accident, you have the right to pursue compensation. Under Georgia law, a person whose negligence causes another person’s injuries is responsible for paying for costs associated with those injuries. Determining liability is one of the most challenging aspects of succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit. Every state has its laws regarding who is liable in a personal injury accident. Georgia uses the legal doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which we will discuss below.

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