NEGLIGENT SECURITY ATTORNEY SERVING ATLANTA
Looking for an experienced negligent security attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, who cares about your case? WILLIAMS ELLEBY is here to help. Our law firm is made up of of experienced Georgia attorneys who live in and love the Atlanta area. When a member of our community is injured due to negligent security, we work hard to ensure they receive the full compensation.
As fellow Georgians, we know that Atlanta is more than just the traffic many non-locals know it by. It’s a city full of culture and kindness. Sometimes criminal activities occur and when those activities could have been prevented by a commercial property owner, the injured person may have a legally valid negligent security case.
If you were the victim of a criminal attack at an apartment complex, hotel, gas station, or other commercial property and are wondering whether you have a case, start by watching this video about negligent security by Joel Williams, the founding partner of our firm:
Most negligent security lawsuits resulting from criminal acts in Atlanta are brought in the civil division of the State Court of Fulton County.
HOW TO WIN A NEGLIGENT SECURITY CASE IN ATLANTA GEORGIA
There are no guarantees in law; however, there are strategies that can help increase the likelihood you will win a negligent security case.
The first step toward winning a negligent security case is evaluating whether there is a legal basis to bring the claim. In Georgia, property owners and occupiers are required by statute, or written law, to exercise ordinary care to keep their premises safe: O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1. In plain English, this means that the owner or occupier has a responsibility to try to deter foreseeable criminal acts. If they do not, they can be held liable. Foreseeability can be proven in multiple ways, including by evidence of prior criminal incidents on the property.
When a hotel or apartment complex doesn’t take reasonable measures to keep their tenants and guests safe and someone is shot, stabbed, or assaulted on the premises, the victim may bring a negligent security lawsuit and receive compensation for their injuries. For example, in one case, Walker v. Aderhold Properties, 303 Ga. App. 710, 712-13 (2010), a woman was able to proceed in a case for a violent sexual attack that occurred when she returned from work in the early morning hours. In that case, there were multiple prior incidents, including burglaries on the property, that the landlord did not adequately address.
A negligent security attorney begins their evaluation of a case by investigating the facts of the crime. They will send public records requests to the law enforcement authority with jurisdiction over the location where the crime occurred. The requests will generally include a request for the incident report from the crime and one for a crime grid showing the type and number of crimes that previously occurred in the area. For crimes that occur in Atlanta, the requests are usually sent to the Atlanta Police Department or the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
After gathering information about the crime where you were injured and other criminal activities in the area, your negligent security attorney will work with a security expert to evaluate whether the security provided by the property owner or occupier was sufficient. If it is determined that security was not adequate, your attorney will likely recommend filing a negligent security lawsuit and will discuss what that means with you.
Once a lawsuit is filed, a more formal investigation into the facts and the other parties’ positions will occur. This process is called discovery. During discovery, depositions will be taken of the property owner or occupier, their employees, and prior victims. Your attorney will use the information gained to help prove that the owner or occupier knew of prior incidents and that the crime you were a victim of was foreseeable.
During the lawsuit, your attorney will take depositions of the property owner and their employees to determine the extent of their knowledge of the prior criminal activity. Prior crime victims will be interviewed and possibly deposed to prove that prior crimes were reported to the property owner. Your attorney will also have to prove the extent and cost of your injuries. Medical records and testimony from your medical providers will help prove these things.
After discovery, the case will probably go to mediation, a process that will attempt to resolve the case with no trial. If the case does not settle in mediation, it will go to trial in front of a jury of 12 people who will decide if the property owner or occupier is responsible and if so, will assign a monetary value to your injuries.
APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT FOR NEGLIGENT SECURITY CASES IN ATLANTA
In Atlanta negligent security cases, the jury will apportion fault. This means they must decide what percentage of fault each involved party has — the property owner or occupier, the criminal, and you. The amount each party is responsible for will then be divided proportionately based on how much at fault each party was. Attorney Joel Williams explains apportionment in this video.
As a simple example, let’s say the jury decides the injuries you suffered from being mugged at your apartment complex were $100,000 and also decides that the property owner was 60% at fault, the criminal was 30% at fault, and you were 10% at fault. In this scenario, you would be entitled to $60,000 from the apartment complex and $30,000 from the criminal. Unfortunately, many criminals do not have enough money to pay what they owe so you might only actually receive the $60,000 from the apartment. You would not have to pay anyone money for the percentage of fault assigned to you.
CALL OUR ATLANTA AREA NEGLIGENT SECURITY ATTORNEYS TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you have been the victim of a violent crime at an Atlanta apartment complex, hotel, gas station, or other commercial establishment, the negligent security attorneys at WILLIAMS ELLEBY are here to help. Call us at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to schedule a free consultation about your case.