Shooting Victim Wins Premise Liability Case Against Atlanta Apartment Community

This post was originally found on HRMAttorney.com.

Last week our Atlanta, Georgia premises liability lawyers settled a negligent security lawsuit against an Atlanta apartment complex.  We represented a man who was the victim of a random shooting while visiting his sister at the apartments.  While he was there, a fight broke out in the parking lot.  People began shooting at each other and as our client, his sister and others tried to run away stray bullets hit him in the hand and thigh.  The bullet that hit his thigh entered his femoral artery and traveled through his circulatory system to his lungs, finally getting stuck in his pulmonary artery.  He had emergency surgery at Grady Hospital to remove the bullet and spent nearly three weeks at the hospital recovering from the surgery and complications from it.  He has thankfully recovered and is doing well, though he will have some serious scars from the bullets and the surgery for the rest of his life.

This case is a good example of the law that applies to negligent security lawsuits.  To win a negligent security case, you must show it was foreseeable that a crime like this would happen and that the apartment complex did not take reasonable security measures to prevent the shooting from happening.

To show that this shooting was foreseeable, we developed evidence that there was a history of similar crimes and shootings at the apartments.

We first requested a “crime grid” for the apartment complex from the Atlanta Police Department.  A crime grid shows all of the crimes that have occurred at the apartment complex for the last several years.  We then searched online and in newspaper archives for reports of crimes at the apartments.  Through this, we found that the apartment complex had a long history of shootings and violent crimes.  In just the year before our client was shot, a man was shot and killed and a teenager was shot twice at the apartments.  In the year after our client was shot, there were three more shootings at the apartments.

We then began investigating the security measures the apartment complex had put in place to prevent shootings or other crimes like this from occurring.  Despite all the shootings and crimes, the apartment complex had no security whatsoever to protect its residents and their guests.  It did not have any security guards, courtesy officers or off-duty police officers working security.  Although it had an expensive surveillance camera system, it was broken and not working.  It also lacked basic security features such as a gate or fence to prevent trespassers from coming onto the property.  Even worse, after our client was shot the apartment complex did nothing to increase security, as shown by the three shootings the following year.

After gathering this evidence, we were able to settle this case for the maximum amount available under the apartment complex’s insurance policy.

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