In Georgia, individuals who get attacked and who get injured on private property can often seek financial compensation for their losses. Know your rights – contact attorney B. Clarke Nash to find out if you have a claim against a property or business owner for negligent security.
When you get attacked or become the victim of a crime, the criminal justice system is designed to punish your attacker for his or her illegal activity. But, as you may already know all too well, it does nothing to compensate victims for the severe physical, emotional, and financial losses they endure as a result of the crime. It also typically does nothing to hold other responsible parties accountable for their role in allowing the crime to occur.
This is where the law of “negligent security” comes into play. While you would almost certainly have a personal injury claim against the person who attacked you, the reality is that this individual is not likely to have the money available to compensate you for your losses. Also, unlike other types of claims where individuals typically have insurance to cover victims’ losses (like car accidents), your attacker isn’t going to have insurance that covers intentional or negligent criminal activity. As a result, in most cases (though not always), victims will be better off leaving the criminal justice system to take care of their attacker.
But, your attacker may not be the only one to blame for what happened. In fact, if you were attacked on private property, there is a very real possibility that the owner of the property or business where the attack occurred is also at least partially to blame for what happened.
Let’s go into this in a little bit more detail.
Who is Responsible?
Under Georgia law, property owners and tenants owe a duty to maintain the safety of their premises. This includes not only addressing hazards and maintenance issues (like spills or cracked stairs), but protecting their invitees and guests against certain other dangers as well. This will often include the danger of a physical assault or attack.
The law of negligent security provides that both property owners and businesses that lease property can be held financially liable for criminal acts occurring on their premises. As a result, victims will frequently be able to seek compensation for injuries sustained in criminal acts occurring at:
- Airports and docks
- Bars and Nightclubs
- Entertainment and sporting venues
- Malls and Shopping Centers
- Professional and Commercial Offices
- Parking Facilities
In addition, these types of establishments will often contract with third-party security companies that employ the security guards stationed at their facilities. If you were assaulted and there was a security guard on duty who did not respond appropriately, you may be entitled to compensation from the security company as well.
Examples of Negligent Security
So, what constitutes “negligent security”? While this will often need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, some of the most common examples of negligent security include things like:
- Failure to appropriately deal with drunk or disorderly patrons
- Failure to install and/or monitor security cameras
- Failure to respond appropriately to a call for help
- Failure to restrict access to the premises
- Failure to warn of potential safety risks
- Inadequate background checks on tenants and employees
- Inadequate fencing, gates, or locks
- Inadequate lighting
- Inadequate (or lack of) private security
- Inadequate security policies and procedures
Importantly, in order to have a claim against a property or business owner, you will need to be able to establish that the owner’s negligence contributed to (or was a “cause” of) your injury. For example, if a parking garage has inadequate lighting but you were attacked in bright sunlight during the day, the lack of lighting likely isn’t going to support a claim for compensation. However, there may have been other issues that contributed to creating an environment where the attack could occur, and it will be critical to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether you have a claim for compensation.
Examples of Negligent Security Claims
We have mentioned a few types of negligent security claims already, but this is important, so let’s focus on it a bit more. If you were injured as a result of any of the following, you may have a claim for negligent security:
- Burglaries and thefts
- Incidents involving drunk patrons or guests
- Sexual assaults
Right now, the most important thing that you need to know is this: If you were injured in an attack or assault on private property, you owe it to yourself and your family to speak with an attorney about your legal rights. This list is not exhaustive, and you do not want to make any assumptions about your rights until you talk to an experienced attorney.
Learn More About Your Rights – FAQs
Q: How can I prove that the property owner/tenant is responsible for what happened?
There are a number of different ways to prove that a property or business owner’s negligence facilitated a criminal attack. From physical evidence (such as insufficient exterior lighting) to documentary evidence (such as proof of negligent hiring practices), your attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation in order to uncover the evidence that can be used to support your claim.
Q: How much compensation can I expect to recover?
The amount of compensation available to you will depend upon the extent of your injuries. This, too, requires a thorough assessment with the help of experienced medical professionals. Generally speaking, the types of compensation available in negligent security cases include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost income (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Other financial and non-financial losses
Q: How long do I have to file my claim?
As a general rule, you have two years to file a negligent security claim in Georgia. However, in order to conduct an investigation and make sure that you have the medical evidence you need to seek a full recovery, it is important that you consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Q: How long will it take to recover compensation?
It depends. Negligent security cases are often settled through the insurance claims process – which can be completed in a matter of months. However, if the property or business owner’s insurance company refuses to settle, we may need to take your case to trial.
Q: How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
At The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., we do not charge any up-front or hourly legal fees. As a result, it does not cost you anything out of pocket to pursue your claim. If we help you secure financial compensation, then we will retain a percentage of your recovery as our legal fees. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Steps to Take After Suffering Injuries Due to Negligent Security
If you think you may have a claim for negligent security, there are several steps that you need to try to take right away. These include:
- Seek Medical Attention. If you haven’t already, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You need to make sure you receive treatment for your injuries, and your medical records will be crucial evidence in your claim for compensation.
- Document, Document, Document. Now is a good time to get into the habit of keeping records. Take photos of your injuries, and keep a log of all of the ways that your injuries impact your life. Collect receipts for your medical expenses, and make sure that you keep copies of your x-ray scans and any other records you receive from your doctor or your employer.
- Know Your Rights. While you don’t need to become an expert, it can be helpful to gain a basic understanding of your legal rights. To learn more, read our guide on filing a personal injury claim in Savannah, GA.
- Know What to Expect. Likewise, it can be helpful to learn what to expect during the claim process. When you know what to expect, you can plan ahead, and you can feel confident as your claim moves forward. For a comprehensive overview, you can read our five-part series: What to Expect During Your Personal Injury Claim.
- Schedule a Free Consultation. Finally, the best way to protect your rights is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced attorney. At The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., we offer free, no-obligation consultations; and, during your consultation Mr. Nash will walk you through all of the steps you need to take in order to protect your claim for compensation. If it appears that you may have a claim, Mr. Nash will then use the information collected during your consultation to conduct an investigation and take aggressive action to win the compensation that you deserve.
Injured on Private Property in Savannah, GA? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your negligent security claim, contact The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. in Savannah, GA. For a free, no-obligation consultation with attorney Clarke Nash, call (912) 200-5292 or tell us what happened online today.