On November 28, 2012, Ahmad Waqas, 20, finished closing up the Dairy Queen where he worked at in the Valdosta Mall. On his way out of the mall he was beaten by two men and robbed of $100. Apparently, there was no mall security on duty at the time of the crime. And while the Valdosta Police employ a mobile command unit in the mall parking lot, the police did not see the crime occur.
Like many mugging victims, Waqas probably cannot locate the perpetrators to have them arrested and possibly receive retribution. His only option, like most victims of third-party violence occurring on private property, is to pursue a claim of premises liability against the owner of the mall.
Generally, the owner of private property does not insure a guest’s safety against third-party criminal attacks. However, if the criminal act is foreseeable, then the owner is obligated to protect guests from such harm. If the owner possesses a reasonable belief that a criminal act may occur on the premises, then the owner a duty to exercise ordinary care to guard against that risk of harm.
To evaluate whether the owner of a property has this duty, the court needs to carefully review the history of any prior criminal activity on the premises to assess the frequency of the criminal act. In this assessment, the incident causing the injury must be very similar to previous criminal activities so that a reasonable person would take steps to protect their guests against such crimes. In this case, other muggings in the mall would be a good predictor of future crimes.
Contact an experienced premises liability lawyer if you or a loved one is the victim of crime on private property to help file a claim. In their analysis of the case, the attorney will carefully research police records to determine if there was previous criminal activity in or around the property which would suggest that the crime was foreseeable. To support a claim of premises liability, your attorney may present statistics of similar incidents on other property to show that any reasonable property owner would have provided the necessary security to prevent the crime.