What is Negligent Security?

Negligent security is a part of the law that falls under the category of premises liability. Premises liability covers harm that a person could experience on a business’s property as a result of negligence on the part of the business. This could include things like slip-and-fall injuries where there is no “wet floor” sign, injuries or deaths incurred by poorly maintained elevators or escalators, and any number of other potential harms.

How Negligent Security Claims Work

So, what is negligent security? Negligent security is the area of premises liability law that covers the types of harm that people experience specifically due to a lack of proper security measures by a property owner. Most of the time, this means the victim of negligent security has also been the victim of some sort of crime on the property. Businesses and other property owners are required to take reasonable precautions to deter crime on the property—and they may be liable for a case of negligent security if they fail in this duty and a victim is injured.

If you believe you or a family member has been the victim of a case of negligent security, you may have a legal claim. Contact The Stoddard Firm to set up a free initial consultation. We’ll go over the details of your case and advise you on the best way to move forward. The consultation is free, and you won’t have to pay for anything unless we win or settle your case. If you think you have a claim, give us a call or send us an email today.

Defining Negligent Security

As we said earlier, negligent security is an area of the law that falls under the category of premises liability. Before we get into the details of what kinds of harm might constitute negligent security, let’s go over the four things you have to be able to prove in order to have a case of premises liability. In a premises liability case, you must prove:

1. Harm

The first thing you must be able to prove is that some kind of harm actually took place. This can be property damage, physical harm, or (most often in a negligent security case) becoming a victim of a crime on the property of a business or other property owner. You must prove the harm took place to win the case.

2. Duty of Care

Next, you must prove that the negligent party owed some kind of duty of care to the victim of the negligence. For example, in the case of a car accident, every driver has a duty of care to abide by the rules of the road and pay attention to the situation around them. Likewise, in a negligent security case, a property owner has a duty of care to ensure the property is reasonably safe.

3. Failure in Duty of Care

The third thing you have to prove to have a premises liability case is that the negligent party failed in their duty of care—that is, that they were negligent. A driver might be negligent by running a red light or by driving 15 mph over the speed limit. A property owner might be negligent by failing to hire adequate security staff or install enough security cameras or other relevant failures.

4. Causation

The last thing that needs to be proven in a premises liability case is causation. You must prove that the defendant’s failure in his or her duty of care causally contributed to the harm the victim received.

A grocery might be negligent, for example, by not putting up a “wet floor” sign after mopping.

However, if the victim’s fall was caused by tripping over their own shoelaces rather than by slipping on the water, negligence did not cause the fall to take place. In other words, it’s not enough to prove that there was negligence; you must also prove that the negligence actively contributed to the harm.

To win a negligent security case, you have to be able to prove all four of those things: harm, duty of care, failure in duty of care, and causation.

How to Prove Negligent Security in a Premises Liability Claim

If you’ve been the victim of a crime such as robbery or assault on a property owner’s property, it should be fairly easy to prove that you received some kind of harm. Hotels, stores, and other buildings that routinely have visitors or customers inside are expected to keep their properties reasonably safe, so it’s easy to argue that they have a duty of care.

It’s most important that you be able to prove the property owner failed in the duty of care and that the failure causally contributed to the crime you were a victim of. A too-small security team might fail to prevent a crime from taking place, for example, or a poorly trained team might fail to respond adequately to a developing situation.

If you think you might have a case of negligent security, it’s very likely that you do. Talk to a trusted personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process and represent you in court if need be.

The Evidence Should Be Compelling

The burden of proof in negligent security and premises liability claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence under Georgia Code § 24-14-1. While your attorney does not need to prove liability beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence must convince the jury that the defendant is more likely than not at fault for your injuries. Some of the most powerful types of evidence in negligent security claims include:

  • Safety inspection reports
  • Lack of repair records
  • Records of complaints
  • Photos of the victim’s injuries
  • Video of the accident
  • Witness statements
  • Accident reconstruction reports.

Property and Business Owner Liability Exclusions

While business and property owners are frequently held accountable for the injuries victims sustain, several circumstances may allow them to escape liability. First, if the injury victim was trespassing on private property at the time of their injury, it may be far more challenging to hold the property or business owner accountable.

Generally, under Georgia Code § 51-3-1, the property owner’s duty of care does not extend to trespassers. However, since Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state according to Georgia Code § 51-12-33, sharing the blame for your injuries may not prevent you from recovering compensation for your losses.

Property and business owners can also avoid liability under the open and obvious doctrine according to Georgia Supreme Court case law. Here, if property conditions would have been considered obvious to any other reasonable person, the property or business owner may not be liable for the victim’s injuries. For example, if the property owner posted signs that stated the area was dangerous, and you proceeded through the area anyway, you are assumed to have viewed those warnings and it would be very difficult to hold the property owner responsible for your safety and well-being.

The Stoddard Firm Represents Victims of Negligent Businesses And Property Owners

Our lawyers have extensive experience holding negligent companies accountable for putting consumers at risk of falling victim to crime. We can uncover and establish the course of events that led to a preventable tragedy, identify what the company should have done to keep its customers safe, and explain it all in a clear, understandable way that judges and juries respect.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a crime and believe you may have a case of negligent security, reach out to The Stoddard Firm right away to learn more about how we can help. Remember: the consultation is free, and you won’t have to pay for a thing unless we win or settle your case. Complete our online contact form or give us a call at 470-467-2200 to get started.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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