Improper Surveillance And Premises Liability
Victims of violent crimes often suffer serious physical injuries along with the psychological trauma related to the incident. These physical and emotional injuries may result in financial and personal setbacks for the victim that include medical bills, therapy costs, and lost wages. Victims of violent crimes that occurred on someone else's property may have grounds for a lawsuit based on the concepts of improper surveillance and premises liability. When someone is injured on another party's property, it is important to ask whether the injury was preventable. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure that their properties are free of dangers that could injure visitors. If you or a loved one has been injured during the commission of a crime or another incident on someone else's property, consider contacting The Mark Casto Law Firm today by calling (706) 940-4030 to explore your legal options.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal principle that is relevant in certain types of personal injury cases. Personal injury lawsuits are generally based on the concept of negligence. In order to have grounds for a lawsuit, the injured person must establish that the injury was caused by the negligence of someone else. An individual, business, or other entity may be considered negligent if they failed to exhibit a level of care that a reasonable person or entity would have exhibited in a similar situation.
All property owners have a legal duty to ensure that their property is in a safe condition for anyone who visits the property. Failure to meet this legal duty often constitutes negligence, meaning that someone who is injured due to a dangerous condition on someone else's property may have grounds for a lawsuit against the property owner based on premises liability negligence.
Common Forms of Premises Liability
Being a property owner involves a wide range of responsibilities, including keeping the property free of foreseeable hazards. According to Georgia Code Section 51-3-1, a property owner is liable for damages for injuries caused by the failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping his or her property safe. Injuries that are caused by hazardous property conditions may lead to a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. Some common types of premises liability cases include:
- Injuries suffered due to improper surveillance, such as no security guards or cameras in a parking garage
- Slip-and-fall accidents caused by hazardous floor conditions, such as liquid spills or uncleared snow and ice
- Failure to provide a warning for a hazardous condition, such as neglecting to put out a “wet floor” sign after mopping
- Injuries that occur due to inadequate lighting, which can lead to accidents or violent crime
These are just some of the most common types of negligence in premises liability cases. Each case will need to be evaluated on an individual basis. You can learn more about improper surveillance and premises liability by discussing your injuries with an experienced premises liability lawyer at The Mark Casto Law Firm.
What Constitutes Improper Surveillance?
The owners of certain types of properties have a legal duty to provide adequate security and surveillance, which can act as a deterrent to crime and provide evidence when a crime does occur. The owners of apartment buildings and office buildings, for instance, have a duty to provide security and surveillance that can help to ensure that only authorized individuals enter the property. If the building owner fails to secure the building and someone is injured or killed as a result, the victim or the victim's family may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit against the owner.
According to the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, businesses that have inadequate security are often held liable in civil courts. In order to have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit based on improper surveillance, the victim or his or her lawyer must prove the following:
- The victim was legally present on the property and not a trespasser
- The property owner had a legal duty to provide adequate security and surveillance
- The owner breached this legal duty
- The victim was injured in an incident that was reasonably foreseeable to the property owner
- The victim would not have been injured if not for the property owner's failure to provide sufficient security and surveillance
- The victim suffered actual damages as a result of his or her injuries
The Role of Foreseeability in Improper Surveillance Claims
A property owner may only be held liable for improper surveillance if the incident and subsequent injuries are deemed reasonably foreseeable. If the property owner reasonably should have been aware of the risk of crime on the property but failed to provide adequate surveillance for preventing crime, the incident may be considered reasonably foreseeable. In most cases, the court will seek to determine if there was a history of similar crimes at the same property.
For instance, if someone was robbed in a parking garage and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner, the court would investigate whether there was any history of robberies at the same parking garage. The existence of past incidents would likely mean that the robbery was foreseeable. The property owner would then have a legal duty to institute security measures designed to prevent future robberies, such as hiring security guards to patrol the garage. If the property owner failed to improve security despite past crimes, he or she may be considered negligent.
Learn More About Improper Surveillance and Premises Liability from a Personal Injury Lawyer
Improper surveillance and premises liability are legally complex and challenging concepts. If you have been injured due to improper surveillance or another hazardous property condition, you should be aware of your legal options. In cases involving negligence, victims of injuries caused by improper surveillance may be able to recover financial compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. To learn more about whether you could have grounds for a lawsuit, consider contacting a premises liability lawyer at The Mark Casto Law Firm by calling (706) 940-4030 for a free strategy session.