Atlanta Negligent Security Lawyer
Metro Atlanta is home to almost six million people. Residents and visitors walk into and out of underground and above ground parking structures every day. They visit Lenox Square, Atlantic Station, and Ponce City Market. They live in apartment complexes and walk or take MARTA at night to avoid steep parking fees. Unfortunately, these activities put people at risk for shootings, sexual assault, physical assault, and much more.
Negligent Security and Sexual Assault
Negligent security personnel may allow a violent ex-spouse into someone’s apartment complex without proper sign-in protocols. Hospital personnel may fail to adequately supervise patients with criminal records. Property owners may fail to maintain lighting in parking structures. Shopping mall personnel may forget to secure closets and empty offices. When property owners fail to provide reasonable security, unsuspecting individuals may suffer rape, molestation, and other acts of sexual assault.
At The Dixon Firm, P.C., we understand the local and state laws surrounding property security. Our team of passionate, Atlanta injury attorneys represents those who suffer sexual assault because of negligent security. We will protect your right to compensation and work hard to prevent future incidents from affecting others in the future.
Premises Liability and Sexual Assault in Georgia
All commercial property owners in Georgia are responsible for securing their properties from foreseeable third-party crimes. If a property owner can reasonably reduce the likelihood of sexual assault through adequate security measures, he or she is responsible for doing so. Victims of preventable sexual assault have the right to hold property owners and occupiers accountable for their enabling negligence.
To prove premises liability in a sexual assault claim, a plaintiff must prove:
- The plaintiff was legally on the property at the time of the assault.
- The defendant (a property owner or occupier) bore a duty to reasonably secure the premises after learning of past incidents.
- The defendant failed to provide adequate security based on his or her current understanding.
- The lack of security directly enabled or exacerbated the act of sexual assault.
- The plaintiff suffered harm that would not otherwise have occurred in a reasonably secure environment.
Georgia courts decide sexual assault-related negligent security claims on a case-by-case basis so hiring the right Atlanta negligent security attorney is essential. Depending on the claim, property owners or occupiers and criminals may share the blame, or one party may shoulder full responsibility for the incident. Factors that impact a claim may include the type of property, crime patterns in the area, and an owner/occupier’s formal commitment to security.
High-Risk Security Areas and Sexual Assault in Atlanta
The Metro Atlanta area is a diverse and sprawling place. Without vigilance, dark corners, and poorly surveilled parking structures can and will invite crime. According to information from Georgia’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, there’s approximately 2,000 recorded rape incidents every year. Over 60% of those incidents occurred in Atlanta-area counties. These numbers do not reflect other acts of sexual assault perpetrated during the year.
Adequate security cannot prevent all acts of sexual assault, but it can prevent several incidents from taking place each year. High-risk areas for inadequate security in the Atlanta area include:
- Apartment complexes. These areas include open-air access structures, high-rise apartments and condos, and frequently involve perpetrators the victim knows.
- Shopping venues. In September 2017, Fulton County charged a 28-year old man with rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, and false imprisonment after kidnapping a woman from Kroger in Carroll County.
- Parking structures. Sexual assault perpetrators often take advantage of the lack of security in above and below ground lots and decks.
- Event venues including stadiums, concert halls, and clubs. Incident reports frequently cite event venues, particularly during and after events.
- Hospitals, particularly psychiatric hospitals, are responsible for ensuring the safety of patients. In September 2017, a patient raped another teenage patient in Anchor Hospital in College Park – likely because of inadequate supervision.
These places may seem safe enough, but they pose an increased risk based on current security practices. Both known and unknown predators may take advantage of the security oversights in any of these locations and enable the criminal sexual assault of visitors, residents, ticket-holders, and travelers. If a property owner or occupier has reasonable knowledge of an increased risk, he or she bears responsibility for implementing adequate security.
Types of Security Negligence in Sexual Assault Cases
Security negligence may include any number of property conditions that contribute to an unsafe environment. Some of the most commonly cited factors in property-related sexual assault claims include:
- Lax security guard practices
- Unreasonable surveillance for the area
- A lack of fencing or poorly maintained fencing
- Defective key entry systems
- Poor lighting and/or inadequate lighting maintenance
- Poor employee, tenant background screening practices
- Advertising a certain level of security and failing to meet advertised standards
Understanding what does and does not constitute security negligence can be difficult so consult a knowledgeable Atlanta negligent security lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. Every case is different and deserves the scrutiny of a trained eye. You may not be able to erase the consequences of what happened, but you may secure fair compensation for your emotional and physical injuries and losses.
Negligent Security and Shooting in Georgia
Atlanta has a negative reputation for shooting crimes of all kinds. Many shooting incidents take place in apartments and around public venues or parking lots late at night. In some of these cases, property owners negligently enable shooters with poor security practices. At The Dixon Firm, P.C., our Atlanta negligent security lawyers represent shooting victims and their families in civil claims against property owners, occupiers, and shooters.
Atlanta’s Reputation for Gun Violence
The Gun Violence Archive has recorded a number of injurious and deadly mass shootings in Georgia. According to FBI data on crime in the U.S., the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area is one of the murder capitals of the country. These insights may not provide details about gun violence and negligent security, but they do paint an accurate picture of the gun violence problem in our state.
WSB TV, 11Alive, Fox 5, and other news outlets remain busy reporting on the latest shootings in the Metro Atlanta area. Drive-by shootings, armed robbery, and domestic violence-related shootings are all common news stories for Atlanta residents. In most cases, the shooter alone bears responsibility for the injuries and death he or she causes. Property owners and managers share responsibility for these tragic incidents if they know about an increased risk of crime and fail to act accordingly.
Where Do Negligent Security Shootings Take Place in Atlanta?
Negligent security shootings can happen anywhere, but some of the most common places shootings occur include:
- Apartment complexes. When landlords fail to background check tenants, to take action based on tenant reports of violence, or to use appropriate security measures in guarded communities, they may face a certain level of responsibility for tenant and guest injuries or deaths. In January 2018, a judge jailed the owner of Brookfield Apartments in East Point, Georgia. The judge determined that the owner did not take reasonable steps to keep the apartment complex safe.
- Shopping venues and restaurants. Drive-by shootings and mass shootings may take place in these public spaces as the result of poor surveillance and property oversight. Mass shooters often plan events based on accessibility resulting from inadequate security measures.
- Parking structures. Poorly lit, semi-private, and poorly surveilled parking structures including decks and lots can serve as the backdrop for gun violence resulting from road rage, domestic disputes, gang incidents, and more. Negligent security shootings often occur in the open-air parking lots such as those that you’ll find at a Target or a Walmart.
- Gas stations. Gas stations are hotspots for robbery-related shootings. Criminals see the locations as easy targets because they often hold large amounts of cash. In late September 2017, men shot and killed a man for his car at a gas station on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.
Not all parking structures, gas stations, shops, or apartment complexes are unsafe. Many prioritize security to protect the business and their legal visitors from criminal activity. Others, however, ignore repeated signals to bolster security. These negligent property owners and operators must face the consequences of failing to maintain secure premises.
Proving Fault in Negligent Security Shootings
In negligent security cases involving injurious and fatal shootings, plaintiffs must prove they were legally on the property (trespassers rarely enjoy the same protections as invitees) and that the defendant should have foreseen the shooting. Prior crimes, poor security audit results, and invitee complaints may all prove foreseeability in negligent security claims.
Inadequate security can involve many different failures including failures to warn, to install appropriate surveillance systems, to maintain fences/access control entries/doors, to maintain lighting, or to create common sense security policies. Any failure to reasonably protect the best interests of invitees’ may strengthen a negligent security claim after a shooting incident.
Georgia courts review negligent security shooting claims individually to apportion fault and determine appropriate damages. To secure fair compensation for injuries or death, victims and their families need the support of an Atlanta negligent security lawyer with experience in shooting crimes.
Negligent Security and Physical Assault
Data from Georgia’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program shows individuals file more than 2o,000 aggravated assault reports per year. The Metro Atlanta area accounted for more than 50% of the listed reports. Assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon can leave victims disfigured, paralyzed, and in debt. The Atlanta negligent security attorneys at The Dixon Firm, P.C. support assault victims in negligent security claims across the city.
When Negligent Security Enables Assault
Property owners in the state of Georgia are responsible for the reasonable maintenance of their properties – a blanket phrase that encompasses hazard remediation as well as crime prevention measures. Working gates, access control measures, reasonable surveillance, adequate security protocols, and strong lighting in low-traffic spaces can all deter criminals from taking advantage of situations.
A property owner will not automatically face legal responsibility for assault incidents that occur on a property. In general, a plaintiff must prove the owner or manager knew about a history of crime or an increased risk for crime on the property. Any record of a similar crime taking place within a few years of the current incident may prove the owner or manager should have known about the risk and addressed it. Areas with high general crime rates can also prove prior knowledge.
Assault perpetrators may be angry ex-spouses, violent drunks passing through, raging drivers, or improperly vetted employees with a history of violence. Negligent security claims do not take the blame away from perpetrators, but they do recognize the role of adequate security in assault prevention.
Common Atlanta Properties at Risk for Negligent Security Claims
In the Atlanta area, certain properties may face an increased risk for assault-related crimes. Assault cases involving negligent security may happen at:
- Retail stores, hotels, and restaurants. Popular daily destinations are not immune to claims of assault. During Dragon Con in 2017, two women suffered serious head injuries after someone threw chairs off the Marriott Marquis balcony.
- Parking facilities. Above ground and underground parking structures, lots, and decks have always been high-risk areas for violent crimes.
- Apartment complexes. Neighbors, friends, and acquaintances can represent a threat in apartment settings.
- Clubs and event venues. Many Atlantans experience assault during or after an event or visit to one of the clubs in the area.
Preventable acts of assault can take place anywhere, but these areas often carry a higher level of risk than others. Local news outlets frequently report on aggravated assault, sexual assault, and violent assault across the Metro area.
What to Do After Experiencing Assault on Someone’s Property
If someone tazzes, strikes, stabs, or threatens you with immediate harm, you are an assault victim. You may want to consider more than a police report if the perpetrator caused significant emotional or physical harm during a confrontation. Take the following actions to protect your right to compensation:
- Record the situation. File a police report and use your phone or a pad of paper to write down everything you remember about the event as soon as possible. Include the names of witnesses present, the location, and a detailed description of your experience.
- Schedule a medical appointment. Talk to a physician about the emotional and physical effects of the assault. Keep every receipt from your medical visits, and maintain a list of all the ways the incident has affected your daily life.
- Talk to a qualified attorney. Reach out to a compassionate Atlanta negligent security lawyer at The Dixon Firm, P.C. Our firm has the resources and experience needed to protect your rights in assault claims that involve the negligence of property owners and operators.
Many different factors will determine if a negligent security claim makes sense in an assault-based case. At The Dixon Firm, P.C., our case evaluations are always free. We can help you find medical support and hold property owners and operators accountable for their roles in an assault.
Schedule a Consultation with a Negligent Security Lawyer in Atlanta
Thousands of assault incidents occur in Atlanta every year. If you believe a commercial or private property owner or operator played a role in your suffering, come to The Dixon Firm, P.C. We offer our clients more than 18 years of experience in the Atlanta area and a 95% success rate in our cases. We can help you hold the responsible parties accountable for your pain and suffering. Get in touch with us today to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.