A property owner who has notice of substantially similar prior crimes on his or her property may be held accountable in an Atlanta premises liability lawsuit. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered an appeal arising out of a car accident that occurred at a mall.
The plaintiffs, a mother and daughter, were driving into the mall when another driver’s SUV hit them. The daughter and the other driver got out of their cars and shouted at each other. The parties used profanities, but did not threaten each other. A mall security officer who was a retired policeman witnessed the fight. He noticed finger-pointing. He tried to ensure that everybody had calmed down and then asked the women to drive into an adjacent parking lot to settle the dispute.
When the officer was speaking with the other driver, the daughter walked over. She believed the situation was hostile, though she didn’t fear for her life. The officer finished talking to the other driver and told her she could go; she got into her vehicle to leave. Meanwhile, the officer began talking to the mother and daughter who were leaning on the back of the daughter’s vehicle. Suddenly, the other driver reversed at high speed and crushed the mother’s left leg.