Landlord Negligence: Apartment Shootings and Wrongful Death

The Georgia premises liability attorneys at SMITH LAW have successfully represented individuals who have been seriously injured or killed as the proximate result of a landlord's failure to keep its premises safe.

When property owners, landlords, and property management companies do not keep their premises safe and a tenant or guest is injured as a result, they may be liable for inadequate or negligent security. See O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 (codifying premises liability). Specifically, to prevail in a premises liability action, the plaintiff must show: (1) that the landlord (or property management company) owed a duty to the plaintiff; (2) that the landlord breached that duty; (3) that the plaintiff suffered harm; and (4) that there was a reasonably close causal connection between the breach and harm.

A landlord has a duty to exercise ordinary care to protect tenants against foreseeable third-party criminal attacks. A landlord can be held liable for third-party criminal attacks—even if the landlord did not have actual knowledge of the danger—if a plaintiff can show that the landlord should have known about the danger and should have acted to protect its guests and tenants from that danger.

For example, a landlord should know that guests and tenants could be subject to a criminal attack on the landlord’s premises if there have been criminal attacks on the premises in the past. So, a landlord that fails to take measures to prevent a recurrence of substantially similar criminal attacks on its premises (by, for example, installing security cameras, improving lighting, or hiring security officers) will probably be liable to those guests and tenants who are injured as a result.

Do not delay in filing a lawsuit. Generally, under Georgia law, premises liability claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. See O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Accordingly, a plaintiff must file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. If a plaintiff fails to do so, he/she will forfeit the right to pursue his/her claim.

SMITH LAW has successfully resolved cases on behalf of victims who have sustained serious and fatal injuries arising from accidents at apartment buildings caused by negligent landlords and their property management companies. If you or a family member has been the victim of a shooting, battery, rape, or other criminal offense because of a landowner's negligent actions (or inaction), please call us now for a free case evaluation.