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Owners of Apartment Complexes May Be Legally Responsible for Injuries to Rape Victims

A 19-year-old woman living in an East Point apartment experienced a horrific ordeal. She reported being raped at gunpoint by two men who invaded her Garden Court apartment while she was cooking dinner, according to 11Alive.com. The news station reported that the two men entered her apartment after the woman opened a patio door to air out her apartment because something she was cooking started smoking. Police said the two men took turns brutally attacking her over the course of a half hour, then ransacked her home before leaving with her cell phone and $900. Police stated they were looking for the two suspects after the November 2014 incident.

Photo Credit: Kelly Lawson, GBI (from 11alive.com)

Photo Credit: 11Alive.com

Our personal injury lawyers know that, unfortunately, rapes and sexual assaults in apartments in East Point, Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah and across Georgia happen far too frequently. These disturbing cases  can result in criminal charges against the perpetrators as well as a civil case against the owners or managers of the property.

Why should the property owners be held responsible? In so many cases, these violent assaults could have been avoided if the property owner took appropriate preventative action. In the legal realm, a rape, sexual assault, shooting, murder or other violent attack against an individual on a property may be considered a "negligent security case." While landlords cannot guarantee that their tenants will be safe from a sexual assault, they must make sure their properties are as safe as possible. Georgia law states property owners do have certain responsibilities. Once the property owner becomes aware of a crime problem, he must take reasonable security precautions to prevent attacks.

What Is a Negligent Security Case?

For example, if the manager of a property is aware of assaults happening on the property and fails to beef up security, he may be held liable in a negligent security lawsuit.

Based on the news story about the East Point apartment rape, it's not clear if the property owner was on notice of a crime problem at Garden Court prior to the rape. However, 11Alive.com reports that many residents said they heard nothing from the apartment complex about the rape three days after the incident.

If true, this may be negligent oversight by the apartment complex. In cases of rapes at apartment complexes, the landlord should inform other tenants as soon as possible so the residents can take precautions. Furthermore, the apartment complex should make sure apartment locks are in working order and that the parking lot is adequately lighted. They may need to hire trained security personnel and install security cameras.

In the case of the East Point rape, police don't believe the suspects lived at the apartment complex and say the attack was random. An 11 Alive News reporter said security has been increased and extra hours have been added to security shifts.

Police have released detailed composite sketches of the suspects and are asking for the public to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS if they recognize the suspects.

Negligent security cases can become complex, which is why it's important to seek the advice of legal counsel. If you or a loved one is sexually assaulted at an apartment complex, don't wait to contact an experienced attorney to learn about your rights. You may be entitled to compensation from the property owner for losses related to your injuries as well as pain and suffering.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in East Point, Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Could Toll Passes Help Reduce Speeding Crashes Among Atlanta Drivers?

In the state of Georgia, motorists in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas can obtain Peach Pass if they want to be able to go through tolls without having to stop to pay. Peach Pass makes it much more convenient for drivers to pay their tolls since they do not have to stop and wait. Peach Pass can also cut down significantly on traffic congestion on toll roads and reduces the number of workers who need to physically be on interstates and highways to collect money. smart-456070-m

Peach Pass is a convenience that many motorists would not want to ever give up. There are now some states, however, that use electronic toll collecting devices to do more than just collect money from road travelers. A personal injury lawyer knows that at least three states are already using their own toll collecting devices as a means of punishing speeders and encouraging people to drive more slowly.

Toll Collection Devices as a Means to Reduce Speeding

Different states have different electronic devices used to collect tolls. Fifteen states in the country use a system called EZ Pass which is similar in many ways to Peach Pass but with a larger network.

Fox News reports that EZ Pass is now tracking driver speeds in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. If drivers do not slow down and they go over the speed limit as they go through toll plazas, then they face consequences.

In Maryland, for example, there is a 30 mile-per-hour limit for drivers traveling through a toll plaza. Any motorist who has an EZ Pass and who goes above that limit by 12 miles or more per-hour twice over the course of six months will have his or her EZ Pass suspended for a period of 60 days.

Some drivers are upset by the fact that their toll collection devices are monitoring their speed, even as authorities have rushed to make it clear that tickets are not being issued to speeders (at least not yet). However, the reality is that encouraging drivers to slow down can be a very good thing.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that around 30 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths occur in accidents involving a speeding driver. Around a third of all crash deaths since 2003 have involved a motorist who is going too fast. This includes not only accidents caused by motorists who receive citations for exceeding posted speed limits but also people who go too fast for road conditions and cause a crash as a result. In 2012 alone, speeding was a factor in an estimated 10,219 car crash deaths.

IIHS also states that about 30 percent of the deadly accidents involving speeding happen on interstate and freeways. Only minor local roads had more speeding-related fatalities. In 2012 alone, 1,185 people died in speeding-related crashes on highways.

If using a toll pass can help to encourage drivers to slow down and can perhaps bring the death toll down, this could be a very good thing. If successful, this phenomenon is likely to spread to other EZ Pass states and perhaps some day to Georgia's Peach Pass as well.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.