In 2012 and 2013 alone, Shiver Hamilton has numerous multi-million dollar recoveries for victims injured at unsafe properties. Owners of property and businesses have a duty to protect their customers and tenants from unreasonable dangers.  Georgia law requires these individuals and entities take minimum steps to learn of dangerous conditions on their property and to correct those dangers so their customers and tenants do not get hurt.  When the property owner does not correct the unsafe condition and someone is injured, the injured person may have a claim.  These types of cases are generally called “premise liability” claims.

It is important to remember that just because someone is injured on someone’s property does not mean the property owner or operator is at fault.   It is necessary to show that (1) the business owner had prior knowledge of the hazard and (2) that the business owner did not take reasonable steps to correct the hazard.

There are generally two types of premise liability claims:  (1) negligent security and (2) physical injury because of hazard (slip and fall, falling merchandise).

Unsafe Premises Verdicts and Settlements

Negligent Security

Many crime victims have no idea they have a meritorious civil claim. Georgia Courts also require landlords, apartment complexes, malls and other businesses to be vigilant and protect their customers and tenants from foreseeable criminal attacks.  These laws have developed over time as more tools are available for businesses and apartments to deter crime.  For instance, if an apartment complex is the site of numerous violent crimes, the apartment complex has a duty to take measures to try and deter future crimes from occurring for the safety of their tenants and guests.

Not all crime can be prevented.  But, given the number of tools available to businesses (security guards, controlled access gates, perimeter fencing, adequate lighting, simple warnings to tenants and customers), businesses have the duty to evaluate the criminal history at their facility and take appropriate measures to try and prevent future crimes.

A significant number of our cases involve representing victims of criminal attacks that could have been prevented with simple security measures.   One of the first tasks to evaluate a possible negligent security case is to send records to the appropriate departments to obtain the criminal history of the location.  We obtain a “crime grid” which shows all crimes occurring at an apartment complex, a mall or other business address.   We retain national experts on property management, criminology, security and crime prevention, in order to assess potential cases and prove that a particular crime could have been prevented with simple security measures.

 

Physical Injury Due to Hazard

There are many physical hazards that can injury someone at a public business.  Falling merchandise off a shelf at a retail store, leaking air conditioning units causing slippery walkways, unsecured doors/infrastructure that falls and impacts someone.  The scenarios are endless.

In every case it is necessary to prove that (1) the business owner knew (or should have known) that a hazard existed, (2) the business owner did not do enough to prevent the injury, (3) that the injured person was unaware of the hazard and (4) that the hazard caused an injury.

Depending on the type of hazard, it often takes expertise to prove the hazard could have been detected and corrected.

Shiver Hamilton is one of the few law firms in Georgia that has developed an expertise in handling these cases.  Located in Atlanta, GA, we relentlessly pursue evidence to prove that the Defendants knew of the hazard and did not correct it in time.