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Negligent Security

Negligent Security is a species of Premises Liability in which a business or commercial establishment may be responsible for an assault committed by a third party. Common offenses are murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In those instances, the owner or tenant of a property has failed to provide adequate security to individuals that are invited upon or licensed to enter their property. This cause of action is called Negligent Security, and it is the basis by which an individual injured by a third party holds liable the owner or tenant of the property where a criminal injury is inflicted.

An injured person can bring a negligent security claim based on the duty imposed on landowners and possessors of property to provide reasonable security measures and protect lawful visitors from foreseeable crimes of third parties. Negligent security claims are based on the premise that the crime could have been prevented or at least made less likely by using appropriate security measures.

Commercial and residential landowners or possessors can be sued for negligent security, but their duties may vary. For example, a college student is not able to provide adequate security measures at his or her dormitory; this, the college has the duty to provide adequate security measures. Similarly, a commercial tenant, such as a retail business at a mall, may have a duty to protect those that shop at the business from foreseeable criminal attacks. On the other hand, a residential tenant may have control of what happens to a guest inside his or her apartment but may not have a duty to take security measures to protect the guest in the apartment complex’s parking lot.


There are industry-accepted standards for adequate lighting, supervision of grounds, functional room locks, and other safety measures. You have a right to be kept safe when on the grounds of a business or organization. Injuries received because of negligent security can be more traumatic than ordinary premises liability injuries. Negligent security cases, generally, involve intentional acts of harm that could have realistically been prevented.

As a former prosecutor, our Attorney Johnson knows that it takes courage to pursue a legal charge against an assailant. We urge victims to not only hold their assailants accountable, but to hold those accountable who failed to provide adequate security that would have prevented the assault from occurring.

Georgia premises liability law requires property owners and managers to provide safe premises for patrons and guests. Negligent security may involve improperly functioning room locks, which could allow an intruder to gain access to a hotel room. Negligent security also may involve failure to prevent someone from parking in an unmonitored location where a sexual assault might occur.

Inadequate security measures may take the form of:

  • Inadequate or insufficient security staff
  • Failure to adequately screen guests and/or visitors
  • Inadequate lighting in stairwells or parking lots
  • Malfunctioning door locks
  • Non-operable security cameras or phones


A Plaintiff suing for negligent security must show the following:

  1. that the landowner or possessor failed to exercise reasonable care to discover similar prior criminal activities or failed to give adequate warnings, so visitors could avoid injury;
  2. that he or she was lawfully present on the defendant’s property;
  3. that the defendant breached its duty to offer reasonable security;
  4. the Plaintiff was hurt because of a third party’s acts that were reasonably foreseeable to the defendant;
  5. that the Plaintiff would not have been injured but for the defendant’s breached duty, and
  6. that the Plaintiff incurred actual damages.

At McKibben Johnson, there is help for assault victims in Georgia. We put our knowledge, experience, and extensive network of investigators to use for our clients. If you or a loved one is a victim of criminal assault, call us at 770-854-0400. Every day, we fight for the rights of sexual assault victims.

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