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When you are traveling away from home, you want to stay somewhere you feel secure. The last thing you expect while traveling is to stay at a hotel or motel that is unsafe because of hazardous conditions or unsavory characters on the premises.

All too often, criminals enter hotel and motel premises due to management’s failure to take reasonable measures to protect their guests. If the owner of the establishment has reason to expect a crime to be committed on its property, generally due to prior incidents on the property or in the immediate vicinity, there is a legal duty to deter and prevent individuals from committing crimes against those on the property.

Anything from poorly lit corridors and parking facilities, to untrained or out-manned security personnel can facilitate dangerous activities. It is also important to have all cameras monitored and exterior fences locked. Some facilities slack on these responsibilities and put their patrons in harm’s way.

It is also important for the company to complete appropriate background screening before hiring any job candidate. Negligent hiring can occur when an employer fails to screen applicants and hires someone with a criminal history. If an assault is committed by a company employee, who has access to potential victims while they work, the company may be legally responsible for injuries and damages caused by that employee.

If an employee is discovered to be dangerous or have a potential to be dangerous after initial hiring and is kept on staff and then commits a crime, a claim for negligent retention could be filed. If the employer fails to monitor and instruct an employee who poses a crime risk, and is allowed to commit an assault, this may establish a claim for negligent supervision.

We help the victims of these crimes to hold motel and hotel operators liable for inadequate security of their guests. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime while staying at hotel or motel, please contact our firm.


Ken Shigley is past president of the State Bar of Georgia, chair-elect of the American Association for Justice Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section, lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice, and a double board certified civil trial attorney.