Violence has causes. Our job is to get to the bottom of it.
Most of the time, violence doesn’t just happen. It has causes. Owners of commercial properties where people pay to go—like hotels, apartment complexes, or restaurants—know that. That’s why Georgia law requires that owners of such commercial properties take reasonable steps to keep their customers and residents safe from violent crime on the property. Sturbridge Partners, Ltd. v. Walker, 267 Ga. 785, 787 (1997). If property owners fail to do that, they can be held accountable for the violence that follows.
At Butler Kahn, our lawyers know how to hold negligent property owners accountable. We can obtain a history of crime on the property to find out what the property owner knew about violence. We know how to find the witnesses and experts who can explain to a jury what safety measures the property owner should have put in place, and we know how to find out what the property owner did and did not do. If the property owner still refuses to accept responsibility, we know how to make the case to the jury.
Negligent Security and Shootings
Commercial property owners should keep customers, employees, and other visitors reasonably safe. When a property owner knows about dangerous violent crime on the property but fails to take reasonable security measures or warn people about the danger, the law allows a plaintiff to bring a “negligent security” case against the owner.
Responsible property owners provide security for tenants and their guests. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s what the law requires. But some owners don’t do it. Regrettably, some property owners go to great lengths to protect their own things—such as their buildings or air-conditioning units—but do little or nothing to protect the people and families who live at the complex.
When our clients’ fifteen-year-old son was shot and killed in the apartment complex that this witness owned, we took the owner’s deposition to cross-examine him. He admitted the basic rules about the security that he was supposed to provide for people at the apartments. But look at what he had to say when we asked him about the actual condition of his apartments.
Crimes on the Property or Apartment Complex
Business owners should know what is happening with their properties. Apartment owners, hotel owners, and other business owners have easy access to that information—the owner can request a “crime grid” from the local police force, which shows recent criminal activity in the area. That crime grid tells the owner what he or she needs to know. If there has been significant crime, such as shootings, robberies, sexual assaults, or rape, the business owner knows to increase security measures. A responsible owner would also issue a warning to residents or customers. On the other hand, if there has been no crime, the business owner can rest easier.
We use the same investigation tools that business owners do. When we investigate shootings, violent crimes, or other negligent security cases, we order a crime grid to see what the owner saw. If the crime grid shows criminal activity, that tells us that the owner should have been aware that his or her residents or customers could be at risk. In legal terms, it tells us that violent crime was “foreseeable.” Sometimes—with extremely irresponsible owners—we found out that the owner never ordered a crime grid at all.
Representing Victims of Shootings and Violent Crime
We have helped victims recover fair compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one sustained injuries during a shooting or other violent crime, we may be able to help. Even if we can’t take the case, we’ll suggest a lawyer who can.