Under Georgia law, owners of apartment complexes and other commercial properties owe a duty of care to tenants and visitors to keep the property safe from criminal activity. A property owner who knows that shootings, gang violence, drug activity, assaults, burglary and other dangerous crimes occur on its property is required to take the proper steps to secure the property for the safety of its tenants.
Thus, if you were injured during a crime that occurred in an unsafe apartment complex in the Hapeville or Atlanta area, you may have a claim against the owner of the apartment complex, especially if you or your neighbors complained about criminal activity, broken security gates, holes in fences, bad lighting or any type of issues with the building that could allow criminals to access the property.
If an apartment owner knows, whether through past similar incidents or through reports by tenants or frequent calls to the police, that unsafe crimes are occurring on the property, it should take actions such as:
fencing or securing entry to the apartment complex;
increasing lighting in common areas and parking lots;
hiring security guards to patrol the property; and,
ensuring that copies of master keys are securely stored and not widely distributed.
If the apartment complex owner fails to take property safety measures and a tenant or visitor is injured due to a third party crime, the apartment complex can be held responsible for their injuries in a negligent security lawsuit under Georgia law. Like any personal injury lawsuit, a victim of a crime caused by negligent and inadequate security in Georgia can recover costs of medical care and treatment, pain and suffering, and possibly even punitive damages from the property owner.
Proving liability against the apartment complex owner requires showing the following:
the owner’s knowledge that the property was susceptible to third party criminal acts;
the property owner’s failure to implement measures to keep the property safe;
the failure to keep the premises safe causes a crime to occur
and causes the victim’s injuries and damages.
If you are a victim of a crime that occurred on an unsafe property, you may be able to recover compensation. Call us today at 404-593-2620 to discuss your case with a lawyer.
About the Author Betty Nguyen Davis is an Atlanta attorney who solely focuses her practice on plaintiff’s personal injury work. Betty is consistently recognized by her peers as a top attorney in Georgia by Super Lawyers and Georgia Trend and is highly recommended by her clients as a aggressive and persistent, yet caring and accessible attorney.