Georgia Inadequate Security Frequently Asked Questions


September 30, 2010

Victims of violent crime can suffer serious physical injuries and long-term emotional scars. Frequently, those who commit violent offenses have no ability to pay a judgment for the damages they cause. They may be facing incarceration for their criminal offense or simply lack insurance and assets against which a violent crime victim can pursue a claim for compensation.

Sometimes a property owner who should have taken appropriate security precautions to protect visitors from being attacked on their property can be liable for not taking reasonable precautions to protect against foreseeable violent criminal offenses, including assaults, batteries, rapes and similar violent attacks. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those injured in Georgia due to inadequate security for over 25 years. Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about inadequate security cases:

What makes pursuing a claim against one who has been a victim of a violent crime difficult?

Many times the person responsible for the attack will be "judgment proof." This means that they lack adequate insurance, assets, or income to pay a civil judgment. As a practical matter the perpetrators of violent criminal acts often are facing jail time or do not otherwise have assets against which a plaintiff can seek compensation. This makes it necessary in such cases to look to other sources of compensation for one's injuries.

Is a property owner required to take security precautions to protect those who visit their property?

It depends on the nature of the property and the identity of the person who is attacked. An owner of a private residence is not required to take security measures to protect a social guest who visits their property. However, a commercial property owner whose property is open to customers and the public at large is required to take reasonable security precautions if it is reasonably foreseeable that those who come on their property may be subject to a violent criminal attack.

What types of properties are usually involved in inadequate security cases?

Any commercial or business property can be involved, but common examples include:

• hotels, motels, inns

• shops and malls

• college dorms

• parking lots and structures

• apartment complexes

• university campuses

Are owners of such properties always obligated to make the premises safe by taking security measures?

The fundamental element that triggers a duty to take security precautions is foreseeability. If a property is located in a high crime area or there has been past violent crimes committed on the premises, the property owner must take reasonable steps to secure the property from such violent criminal acts. If a property is located in an area with little or no crime and a criminal act has not been committed on the property before, it may be difficult to establish that the property owner should have foreseen a violent criminal attack.

The district attorney is already pursuing a criminal case, so do I really need an attorney?

The district attorney pursuing criminal charges against the person who committed a violent attack has very little to do with obtaining compensation for one's injuries. The criminal case is simply about determining the guilt of the accused and determining an appropriate criminal sentence. Sometimes part of the sentence will include restitution which means paying back a victim, but as a practical matter this will not typically lead to compensation for one's damages. A lawyer experienced with inadequate security cases will pursue a claim seeking compensation for your damages, and will typically include the property owner as a defendant to help ensure there are sufficient resources to compensate you for your damages.

How much security must a property owner put in place?

This is a very difficult question to answer and is based on the specific facts of the case. It often depends on the nature and extent of past crime in the area and/or past crimes on the premises. The more serious the types of crimes committed and the higher the crime rate the greater the precautions that are probably reasonable. Inadequate security cases are a type of premises liability case. An experienced premises liability attorney will typically assess the past crime in the vicinity and on the premises, and evaluate what type of precautions were taken. Depending on the facts and seriousness of the case, a security industry expert may be utilized to testify about why the security measures taken were insufficient given the types of crime and frequency of crime in the area.

What types of damages are available in an inadequate security case?

The damages typically available include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, disability or lost earning capacity, mental distress, pain and suffering, and potentially loss of consortium (loss of services and companionship to one's spouse).

If you or someone you love has been the victim of an attack, the compassionate attorneys of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our Georgia premises liability attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.