Atlanta Injury Attorney for Crime Victims
Dedicated to the Pursuit of Justice – Call 404.594.7778
If you have been the victim of a violent crime in Georgia, you may feel powerless to redress the wrong that was done to you as the prosecutors and law enforcement officers take action without involving you in the process (other than providing testimony when called upon to do so). Your feelings are completely justified and there may be something that you can do to hold other parties accountable whose negligence may have contributed to the commission of the crime. Retaining an Atlanta personal injury attorney who specializes in representing the rights of the victims may be the first step in moving forward.
Understanding Your Legal Options
There are many types of violent crimes that happen through no fault of the victim. The person who injured you may be civilly liable for damages you sustained as a result of their intentional acts towards you. There are other times when the negligent actions of third-parties caused or contributed to the crime. It is possible to hold those people responsible even as the case against the perpetrator moves through the judicial process. One of the most common cases where a third-party may be liable for the harm caused by a violent crime is when an owner or manager negligently maintained a location where residents, patrons, or guests reasonably expected a higher level of security.
The owner of a property has an obligation to maintain a safe and crime-free environment to the extent possible. A property that has insufficient security, negligent employees, improper training, or poor lighting or obstructions may set up a situation where a violent criminal action can take place. This type of negligence that results in harm to a person through the criminal actions of a third-party is known as premises liability. It is possible to hold the owner or manager of certain properties in Georgia responsible for the harm that you suffered as the victim of a crime on these premises.
The types of properties that may be subject to a legal duty to provide a safe environment for its residents, guests, and visitors include:
- Motels and hotels;
- Apartment complexes;
- Restaurants and bars;
- Shopping malls;
- Amusement parks;
- Public parks and beaches;
- Gas stations;
- Hospitals and other healthcare facilities; and
- Nursing Homes.
There are criminal elements such as gang members, drug-dealers, and rapists who will target vulnerable individuals in areas that provide concealment and unobstructed escape. There are many reasons for the liability of a premises owner, but some of the primary causes are:
- Negligent hiring, supervision, and retention – if an employer hires an employee with a background that includes domestic violence, criminal convictions, or other history available on a background check that indicates a propensity for violent actions then the employer may be liable for the actions of that individual. This also may be the case when the employee does something during the course of his employment that notifies the employer of the danger that he poses but the employer does not terminate his employment.
- Improper maintenance – a broken latch on a security door or gate may present easy entrance for a violent criminal. However, many crimes are committed when the opportunity presents itself. A burned out bulb in a stairwell or an unlocked supply closet may lead to a crime that otherwise would not have happened. Overgrown bushes may conceal a perpetrator until it is too late to avoid an attack. A lot of this violence would have been avoided if the owner or manager had acted to correct the problems in a reasonable manner.
Injuries from Crimes at Apartment Complexes
A serious risk for Georgia residents is unsafe apartment complexes. Many of the residents of these units are only there for relatively brief periods of time. Often, a person moves into a new apartment without knowledge of what has happened there in the past and how conditions exist that put them at a greater risk than would exist without the negligence of the management. Owners and managers will take steps to prevent new tenants from learning about criminal activities that happened on the premises previously. Often, the circumstances that led to those crimes have not been corrected.
Some of the crimes that are all-too-common at apartment complexes include:
- Petty theft, including things like bicycles, outdoor grills, and other accessible items;
- Vehicle break-ins;
- Robberies and burglaries;
- Home invasions; and
- Violent crimes, such as assault and battery, rape, and even murder.
Frequently, the reason these apartment complexes are targeted repeatedly is because the lack of security becomes well-known among those individuals likely to commit a crime. Easy access to the property because of lack of fencing or any sort of perimeter barriers is one reason that crimes may continue to happen. Poor lighting, including light bulbs that burn out and are not replaced on a regular basis, especially in areas like stairwells and secluded walkways, are an invitation for criminals. In addition, the management of these complexes may install ineffective locks on windows and doors because they are cheaper, leading to an easy access point for someone who wants to get into the unit.
Motels and Hotels
Motels and Hotels also are frequent locations of violent crimes. These locations are supposed to be safe locales for the people who stay in them while away from home or in need of temporary housing. However, the security in these places is often neglected. Gates are not maintained, if they exist at all. Security cameras may not function properly or the motel/hotel employees fail to monitor them and report crimes as they are happening. Further, if there are security personnel, they may not be trained to perform their job duties in an effective manner or the security force is not sufficient to cover the property in an effective manner.
Shopping Malls and Stores
One of the other locations where the negligence of an owner or manager may contribute to violence on the premises is at a mall or retail store. While the terrifying mall attacks that have occurred in the United States and overseas in recent history are mostly unpreventable by private owners, rather than law enforcement and other authorities, the fact is that there are many crimes that happen in back hallways and accessible areas where simple precautions would have prevented most of them. It is this failure of the owner or manager who could have corrected the problem with reasonable vigilance that must be addressed and the responsible party forced to acknowledge the wrongdoing, which often leads to serious and life-altering harm.
Injuries Resulting from Preventable Premises Crimes
The violent assaults and other criminal activities that create liability for the premises owner or manager may lead to the following serious injuries:
- Broken bones, scarring, and permanent disfigurement;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Loss of hearing or sight;
- Physical disability;
- Cognitive impairment;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
Family members also may suffer as a result of the serious injury, including suffering loss of consortium. The tragedy is that these could have been prevented with reasonable care on the part of the owner or operator.
Take the First Step Toward Justice
As a former prosecutor, Tanya Miller understands the terrible physical and emotional pain suffered by crime victims. Although it is critical to prosecute the criminal perpetrator for the crime, it also is crucial to identify the other wrongdoers who contributed to the circumstances that led to the crime. Atlanta personal injury attorney, Ms. Miller wants to provide the voice for crime victims who have suffered from a violent crime here in Georgia. She knows how to investigate the facts of the crime and identify everyone responsible for the horrific events that you experienced so that you can participate in exacting justice.
Contact the Law Office of Tanya F. Miller, LLC today at (404) 594-7778 to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation.