Georgia property and business owners have a legal duty to keep their property reasonably safe. In other words, property owners must protect their residents and customers from dangerous conditions that pose an unreasonable risk of harm. When customers or residents become injured due to dangerous conditions on the owner’s property, the victims can bring a negligent security lawsuit against the property owner. An example of a negligent security lawsuit would involve a resident becoming injured due to a sexual assault that could have been prevented had the landowner taking more safety precautions.
What Types of Negligent Security Cases are Most Prevalent?
According to a detailed study on negligent security, the majority of negligent security lawsuits (42%) involve some type of assault and battery. Sexual assault and rape claims account for 26% of claims, wrongful death accounts for 15% of claims, robbery accounts for 9% of claims, and false imprisonment accounts for 4% of claims. Many percentages fall into a miscellaneous category, including carjackings, home invasions, and arson.
Sexual Assault in Parking Lots or Apartment Complexes
Many negligent security lawsuits involved a victim being assaulted in a parking lot, adding an apartment complex, or someone else’s property. According to a recent report from the US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, many instances of rape and sexual assault occur near the victim’s home. Between 2005 and 2010, nearly 55% of sexual assault and rape victimization occurred at or near the victim’s home.
Another 12% of rape or sexual assaults occurred at or near the home of the victim’s relative, friend, or acquaintance. Around 7% of assaults occurred while the victim was attending school. Additionally, 9% of sexual violence occurred when the victim was going to or from work or school, was out shopping, or engaged in leisure activities away from home, including commercial places, parking lots, and garages. Finally, 15% of sexual assaults occurred in areas of public transportation or open spaces.
Unfortunately, some of these rape and sexual assault instances could have been prevented had the property owner used reasonable security measures. For example, the owners of apartment complexes have a duty to secure their property on behalf of their residents. Specifically, owners of apartment buildings have a legal duty to keep their residents safe from any foreseeable sexual assaults and rapes.
Negligent Security Injuries From Parking Lot Incidents
Many people do not realize how dangerous parking lots can be. In fact, parking facilities are the third most frequent location in which violent crime occurs. Nearly 1,400 attacks occur in parking lots every day. In addition to bodily injuries, victims can also suffer property damage to their vehicles or have property stolen from their vehicles. Unfortunately, many injuries that occur in parking lots are preventable. In addition, parking lots and garages present a security risk, but they do not have to.
Using Correct Lighting Can Prevent Injuries
Some parking lots have an unsafe design, and other parking lot owners do not employ enough security personnel or use enough lighting and other safety measures to prevent attacks on their visitors and guests. Lighting is one of the most important ways to protect guests. Parking lot owners should paint walls white throughout the structure. They should also enhance their lighting in stair towers and elevators to provide a safe experience for visitors as they leave and return to their vehicles.
Using Surveillance and Patrols
Many accidents occur when there is no surveillance and criminals know that they can get away with violence without being caught. Studies have shown that using surveillance cameras can decrease violent crime in parking lots and other facilities. Security personnel must monitor the CCTV systems and contact law enforcement as soon as they notice any suspicious activity.
Depending on the location and security risks, property owners may need to add security patrols in their parking structures and buildings to enhance security. Studies have shown that having a heightened law enforcement presence can serve as a serious deterrent to parking lot area crimes.
How Much is My Negligent Security Case Worth?
Every case is different, but the value of a negligent security lawsuit depends on multiple factors. The extent of the victim’s injuries and the medical costs associated with them will significantly determine the value of a victim’s case. The court will also consider the pain and suffering endured by the victim from his or her injuries. To succeed in a premises liability lawsuit, the victim will need to prove that the property owner’s negligence caused his or her injuries.
As the victim of sexual assault, proving liability will require a thorough investigation. The victim will need to demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known that a rape or sexual assault was a foreseeable consequence of their lack of security. Here’s some commonly asked questions that help us think about analyzing the value of a lawsuit involving rape in an apartment building:
- Have there been any prior sexual assaults on the premises? Has the owner seen people lurking about on the property?
- Does the property owner have any private security or front desk employees in place? Does the apartment building allow strangers to walk directly up to private apartment units?
- Are there any policies or procedures in place to check incoming visitors to the property?
- Does the property have properly maintained fences and landscaping?
- Do the locks on apartment doors work?
- Are there call alerts for incoming visitors?
- Does the apartment complex or parking garage have proper lighting? Does the lighting extend to the parking spaces?
- Does the parking garage or apartment complex have surveillance videos?
- How safe is the neighborhood? If it is dangerous, what methods have a property owner taken to curb the possibility of crime occurring on his or her property?
Consult With an Atlanta Negligent Security Lawyer Today
If you or your loved one has been injured because of a property owner’s lack of security, you may be entitled to compensation. To discuss your case with an experienced negligent security lawyer, contact James A. Rice, PC, to schedule your free initial consultation.