Negligent Security or Ordinary Negligence?

Beasley Allen’s premises liability lawyers often receive calls to investigate and pursue various types of premises liability cases. Many of the cases involve negligent security claims, which tend to grab the attention of personal injury lawyers, particularly in Georgia, due to the complexity of legal issues these cases embody and the potential for catastrophic damages they present.

The presence of a third party (non-resident) criminal assailant in a premises liability case is a good indicator of negligent security. For example, the assailant enters the premises and seriously injures or kills an invitee (i.e. tenant or customer) and it can be demonstrated that the crime was foreseeable and that the property owner failed to take reasonable and adequate measures to prevent such a crime from occurring on the property.

However, what if the person committing the crime is not a third party but someone employed by the property owner? What does that mean for a premises liability case?

Donovan Potter, a premises liability lawyer in Beasley Allen’s Atlanta office, is investigating a premises liability case in which the client was stabbed to death by the live-in property manager and maintenance man of a residential complex where the client lived.

This premises liability case, however, does not include claims of negligent security because the property owner’s employee, not a third-party individual, committed the crime that resulted in the property resident’s death.

The case is therefore a typical negligence case in which claims are made against the property owner through Respondeat Superior, a legal doctrine that holds an employer or principal liable for an employee’s wrongdoing if the offense occurred within the scope of employment.

In contrast, a negligent security case generally asserts that the property owner failed to take adequate and reasonable measures to prevent tenants, customers, etc. from being harmed on the property by a third-party.

Additionally, since the defense will likely assert that the conduct of the property owner’s employee was intentional, the plaintiffs must also allege and prove claims of negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention against the employer. These causes of action against the property owner/employer are independent of the employee’s conduct.

If you have a case and need to discuss it with a premises liability lawyer, Donovan Potter and Parker Miller in Beasley Allen’s Atlanta Office can help. They know what evidence you will need to prove your premises liability or negligence case and would be happy to evaluate your claim. If you have any questions about these cases, contact Donovan or Parker at 800-898-2034 or by email at [email protected] or [email protected]

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