Landowners in Georgia have to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable assaults or attacks and keep people on their premises safe. A mall can be liable to a person who gets hurt because the property owner did not provide adequate security. Premises liability is the type of law that can hold property owners accountable for injuries that happen on their property.
When a Mall is Responsible for Harm from Negligent Security
A property owner may be liable in some cases if someone has been assaulted on their property, in this instance a mall . We have to prove all four of these elements to hold a mall liable for negligent security:
1. The mall owed the injured person a duty of care. The mall has to protect its customers, visitors, guests, employees, vendors, and everyone who is on the property legally. Even if a person is not a customer, the mall must maintain reasonably safe premises and approaches, as long as the person is there for a lawful purpose, such as to make deliveries or read the water meter.
The landowner must keep the premises and approaches reasonably safe. An approach is something that one might expect a person to use to access the mall. For example, the parking lot and sidewalks surrounding the mall are approaches. On the other hand, the mall has no duty to provide security to protect trespassers..
2. The mall failed in its duty of care to the injured person. A business is negligent when it fails in its duty, such as the responsibility of providing adequate security. The mall should evaluate things like crime rates in the vicinity and the history of assaults and other criminal activity on its premises and approaches to determine what crimes are foreseeable.
The company should then formulate and implement a security plan that includes reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes. For example, when there have been muggings in the parking lot at a mall, the company should install security cameras, make sure the parking lots are well-lit, and increase the patrols of security guards. Failure to take reasonable crime prevention measures after learning about crimes onsite is negligent security.
3. The mall’s negligence caused the injury. Inadequate security by itself does not create grounds for a claim against the mall. For instance, if you notice that a mall has no security cameras and the parking lot contains large areas that are dark after sunset, you cannot sue the mall for inadequate security.
The picture changes, however, if you suffer harm because of the negligent security. If someone attacks you because the mall did not provide adequate crime prevention security measures, the company’s negligence caused your injury, and you can sue them.
4. The mall could have prevented the harm with adequate security. Georgia law does not require mall to prevent every single crime. Not all crime is preventable. The law will, however, hold a property owner responsible if it could have prevented foreseeable crime but failed to do so.
The Requirement of Foreseeability
Some neighborhoods are safer than others. A mall in a low-crime area will have to provide and maintain adequate security for their location, but only to a certain extent because it is not foreseeable that significant crimes will occur there.
A mall in an area known for multiple assaults, muggings, and other criminal activity will have to take more security measures to protect its visitors from harm, because it is foreseeable that crimes will happen there.
While it might not seem fair to require one mall to spend more money on security than another, the safety of people on the premises is important enough for the law to demand that the mall implement reasonable security measures. Some crimes are not foreseeable for other reasons.
Inadequate Security at a Mall
The facts of each case are different. The level of required security will vary based on the local crime rates and the history of criminal activity in and around the mall. Some examples of negligent security can include failing to:
- Install security cameras after criminal events
- Provide bright lighting indoors and outdoors
- Repair broken locks, windows, gates, doors, fences, and alarm systems
- Warn visitors of foreseeable dangers
- Upgrade the security measures after criminal activity
How to Get Legal Help for an Injury from a Mall’s Negligent Security
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC can help people who suffer harm caused by negligent security at a mall. A premises liability and security attorney can explain your legal rights and tell you if you might have a claim for compensation. Call us today at 404-474-0804, and we will arrange your free consultation.