Apartment Rape and Shooting Claims in Savannah

Apartment Rape and Assault Cases

As an attorney who has experience defending many kinds of commercial properties in my former life as an defense lawyer, I have seen many disturbing cases involving rapes and shootings at apartment complexes. Unfortunately, if you watch the news it seems that there is always someone being raped, stabbed, shot and beaten in his or her apartment. Even more sadly, many of these incidents did not have to occur if proper safety precautions had been taken.

While it is true that assaults and rapes can happen any type of residence, they tend to occur most often in apartment buildings.

Here are the two main situations that happen at apartments:

1)      The attacker lives at the apartment complex or is a guest of someone living there.

2)      The attacker is a trespasser on the property.

Before going into the specific differences between these two types of incidents, I need to explain what, exactly, the law sees as negligence on the part of apartment owners.

While landlords cannot, by law, guarantee your safety from criminal attack, the law does require property owners to take reasonable safety measures once they are made aware of a crime problem in the area.

Unfortunately, in most of the cases we have investigated, it has become clear that the apartment manager ignored an obvious crime problem instead of improving lighting, surveillance, and security monitoring.

We have handled cases involving malfunctioning apartment gates, inadequate background checks on tenants and employees and a lack of nighttime security patrols.
If you are interested in studying the legal details in these kinds of cases, Sturbridge Partners, Ltd. v. Walker 267 Ga. 785, 482 SE2d 339 (1997) is one of the most important Georgia appellate cases, and it explains how Georgia courts have analyzed negligent security claims. Essentially, the main thing you need to prove in a negligent security case is that there were instances of assault before your case. If there is not a history of criminal activity on the apartment's premises, then the case will most likely be dismissed.

If the Attacker Was a Guest or Tenant

If the rapist or attacker was a tenant or guest of a tenant, it is harder to show that more security would have done much to prevent the incident from occurring. In this kind of case, the focus becomes whether or not the apartment should have done a better job of background checking before accepting the person as a tenant. To win the case, you would have to prove that the tenant did have a criminal background and the apartment failed to perform the background check that would have revealed this information.

If the Attacker Was a Stranger

This kind of case is much more common, and in order to have a strong case in court, you will need to prove two things. First, you will need to show that there had been previous assaults on the property, and second, you must show that the apartment did not take appropriate measures to protect its residents.

Finally, you can probably see by now that premises security cases are some of the most variable and complex personal injury cases. If you have any questions about your own case after reading this, please contact our office.