NEGLIGENT SECURITY ATTORNEY IN ACWORTH GEORGIA
You may need an Acworth negligent security attorney if you have been the victim of a criminal attack at an apartment or hotel in Acworth. The attorneys at Williams Elleby have recovered millions of dollars for individuals who are attacked by criminals at dangerous apartments, hotels, and other commercial establishments. The good news for our Acworth friends and neighbors is that you can trust Williams Elleby. Around Acworth Magazine readers have honored our firm with the Readers’ Choice Award for several years in a row.
Acworth citizens know that The Lake City is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. We have wonderful churches, schools, festivals, lakes, and restaurants. Lake Acworth, Lake Allatoona, Henry’s Louisiana Grill, and Logan Farm Park are just a few of Acworth’s must see attractions.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the Acworth Police Department, criminal activities do occur. When those activities occur on a commercial property and the owner did not provide adequate security, the injured person may have a legal case against the property owner or manager.
If you were the victim of a criminal attack at an apartment complex, hotel, gas station, or other commercial property in Acworth 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 cases that resulted from criminal acts in Acworth are brought in the civil division of the State Court of Cobb County.
HOW TO WIN AN ACWORTH NEGLIGENT SECURITY CASE
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, O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 requires property owners and occupiers to exercise ordinary care to keep their premises safe. In the context of criminal activity, this means that the owner or occupier of a commercial property has a duty to try to deter foreseeable criminal acts. If they do not, they can be held liable. Foreseeability is the key element of any negligent security case and it can be proven by establishing a pattern of similar criminal activity at the commercial establishment.
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 when she returned from work in the early morning where there had been multiple prior incidents, including burglaries on the property, that the landlord did not adequately address.
WHAT ARE NEGLIGENT SECURITY ATTORNEYS AND WHAT DO THEY DO
Our negligent security attorneys represent crime victims in civil actions against the owners and managers of dangerous hotels, apartment complexes, and other commercial establishments. When someone is criminally assaulted at a commercial establishment in Acworth, the damages are sometimes catastrophic. This is especially true in cases involving shootings, stabbings, rape, and armed robbery. The number one goal of Williams Elleby negligent security attorneys is to recover fair compensation for the victims of these crimes. How do we do that?
Our evaluation of a case begins by investigating the facts of the crime. We send public records requests to the law enforcement authority with jurisdiction over the location where the crime occurred. For Acworth cases, that is usually the Acworth Police Department. The requests will ask for for the incident report and a crime grid showing the type and number of crimes that previously occurred in the area.
After gathering information about the crime where you were injured and other criminal activities in the area, our attorneys will work with a security expert to evaluate whether the security provided by the property owner or occupier was sufficient. If we determine that the property owner or occupier failed to provide reasonable security measures to deter criminal activity, we will send a settlement demand to the property owner’s insurance company to try and obtain a fair pre-suit settlement. If the case cannot be settled for a fair pre-suit amount, we work with our clients and file a formal lawsuit in the appropriate county.
After we file the Complaint that initiates the lawsuit, the property owner will file an Answer admitting or denying the allegations in the Complaint. Then, the parties begin a process called discovery. During discovery, depositions will be taken of the property owner or occupier, their employees, and prior victims. Our attorneys will use the information gained to help prove that the owner or occupier knew of prior incidents. This helps establish the all important element of foreseeability.
When discovery ends, most judges will order the case 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 acted reasonably. If the jury determines that the property owner or occupier bears fault, it will also return an award of monetary damages for the Plaintiff.
APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT IN GEORGIA NEGLIGENT SECURITY CASES
O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 allows the jury to apportion fault to all parties and non-parties in negligent security cases. The Georgia Supreme Court has determined that this statute requires the jury to assign a percentage of fault to each involved party — the property owner or occupier, the criminal, and you. See Couch v. Red Roof Inns, Inc., 291 Ga. 359 (2012). The amount each party is responsible for will then be divided proportionately based on the degree of fault of every party and non-party. Attorney Joel Williams explains apportionment in this video.
As a simple example, let’s say the jury decides the injuries you suffered from being shot at a hotel were $1,000,000 and also decides that the property owner was 50% at fault, the criminal was 30% at fault, and you were 20% at fault. In this scenario, you would be entitled to $500,000 from the apartment complex and $300,000 from the criminal. Unfortunately, many criminals do not have enough money to pay what they owe so you might only actually receive the $500,000 from the hotel’s insurance company.