Hotel Assault and Attack Lawyers in Georgia
When you are a paying guest at a hotel, you assume that the hotel has taken steps to make the premises safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Every day, crimes such as shootings, rapes, assaults, and robberies can happen at motels and hotels. In some cases, nothing could have been done to prevent the criminal incident from happening.
In other cases, it is apparent that the hotel owner did not take enough precautions to protect their guests who trusted they were in a safe environment. Inadequate lighting, broken windows, broken door locks, and poorly trained security can result in serious injuries or death. Under Georgia law, victims of crimes that occur at unsafe hotels or motels can pursue compensation against the hotel or motel for negligent security. The owners and operators of hotels can be held accountable for their negligence through a negligent security lawsuit.
Understanding Georgia Negligent Security Claims
Negligent security claims are a type of premises liability claim. Property owners have a legal duty to make sure their customers, visitors, and employees are safe from dangerous conditions. Dangerous conditions can include crimes committed by third parties who come onto the property or other hotel or motel guests.
Hotel Owners Have a Duty to Protect Against Foreseeable Criminal Acts
Georgia hotel and motel owners have a legal duty to prevent guests from foreseeable crimes, even when third parties commit the crimes. One of the factors that a victim of a crime on an unsafe property must prove is that the crime was foreseeable. Several factors show that property owners should have foreseen a criminal act, such as similar crimes that have occurred in the past.
Suppose robberies had occurred at the hotel recently, or there have been complaints about criminal behavior from employees, customers, or other guests. In that case, victims of crimes that occur at hotels or motels may be able to prove that the crime was foreseeable. Victims of negligent security at hotels will also need to prove that the property owner’s failure to act to protect against the criminal act caused him or her to be injured by a criminal.
For example, if a motel or hotel owner has a warning that crimes have been occurring or may be occuring on the premises and fails to take action, the victim can argue that the owner foresaw the crime and failed to take action.
Crimes Can Occur in Hotel Parking Lots, Stairwells, and Corridors
Many hotels and motels are safe for the majority of guests. Unfortunately, devastating hotel crimes can occur when a hotel owner refuses to spend enough time or resources to secure the premises. Many hotels are large, sometimes with isolated corridors and stairwells. Crimes at hotels frequently happen at night when many guests are asleep, and the number of staff on duty is smaller.
Hotel and motel owners are also responsible for parking lots, including underground parking decks. Parking areas, such as parking lots and garages, can be isolated and relatively empty, especially at night, making customers even more vulnerable to criminal attacks. Hotel owners have a duty to ensure that the entirety of the property is reasonably safe for customers and guests.
Inadequate Safety Measures at Hotels, Motels and Inns
Hotel and motel owners should make safety a top priority, taking reasonable steps to protect their employees, guests, contractors, and other hotel visitors from criminal attacks. While it is impossible for hotel owners to prevent 100% of criminal activity, using adequate security practices deters criminals from attempting to engage in crime at the hotel. For example, when there are security guards, security cameras, and well-lit areas, criminals are less likely to attack innocent people. Motel and hotel owners can keep their guests safe from injury by taking the following security steps:
- Hiring enough staff members and security guards
- Ensuring hotel staff and security know how to respond to safety threats before, during, and after they occur
- Installing sufficient security cameras throughout the hotel or motel
- Ensuring the interior of the hotel and the parking lot are well-lit
- Removing guests who pose a safety or security threat to others quickly
Also, hotel owners should keep detailed records of any criminal or safety incidents. Owners should immediately report the incidents to the property authorities. When hotel owners have access to these records, they can take adequate security measures to prevent future security incidents.
Security in Hotels Means More Than Protecting Against Strangers
Many violent crimes in hotels occur between people who already know each other, just as violence elsewhere is often committed by a person the victim knows. Criminal perpetrators do not always need to break into their victim’s rooms. Sometimes they are invited in or are already sharing the same room. Many people assume that if a crime has not occurred in a public area or does not involve forced entry, it cannot be a case of negligent security, but this is not true.
It can be difficult for a hotel owner to know when it is or is not appropriate to intervene in a domestic dispute. That defense only goes so far. Horrific and violent situations can unfold under hotel management’s watch without the involvement of an intruder. In these cases, victims may still be able to hold the hotel liable for failure to intervene or prevent the situation. For example, suppose other guests report that they hear shouting or are concerned about a crime, and the hotel does nothing. In that case, the victim may still have a valid premises liability claim.
Contact a Georgia Lodging Negligent Security Attorney
Hotels are obligated to take reasonable measures to keep their guests safe. When they fail to do so, victims of crimes that occur at the hotel can hold them accountable in court through a premises liability lawsuit.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from criminal activity at an Atlanta hotel, it is essential that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney James Rice will discuss your case with you, answer any questions you have, and help you understand all of your legal options. Contact James Rice today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about your legal options.
Mr. Rice, treated me and my case as if he was dealing with a “colleague” from the moment we met until the end of my case. I’m not a lawyer, nor in anyway, connected professionally to the law field. By “Colleague” I mean “Man, Husband, and Father” with all the responsibilities which correspond to the profession. He told me exactly what to expect with my case. His strategy and timeline to meet those expectations and what he would require of me to bring it all together in my best interest. Straight shooter, who got me back to the profession I love most in this world! Great lawyer who I’m proud to recommend to anyone needing his services.
R. C., Naval Submarine Veteran