Can You Sue a Hotel if You Are Robbed in their Parking Lot?

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You would like to feel that you are basically safe when you stay at a hotel. If something terrible happens, such as a robbery, assault, rape, or other injuries, you might be right in feeling you should be able to recover damages from the hotel owner. Under negligent security laws, the tenant has some basic responsibilities to keep people safe so if you are robbed in the parking lot, you may have a legitimate case to make in civil court.

Hotels have a responsibility to provide lighting, security cameras, doors that lock, and other basic safety measures to protect guests. If you can prove the crime may have been prevented or made less severe, if safety measures had been taken, you would have an excellent lawsuit. If you were robbed at a hotel, for instance, and you can prove safety measures were not in effect you could have a good chance at winning a lawsuit. Sometimes safety measures are taken and proper procedure is not followed, and this can be grounds for a negligence suit.


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Companies have a responsibility to put safety measures in place to prevent crime and to actually follow those procedures. They are also required to notify customers if there is a crime problem in the area, or if crimes have been committed there recently.  Some business owners will try to hide these facts from customers, and that too can be grounds for a negligence suit. If the company or a security company hired does not follow its own procedures that is a case of negligence.

Owners of hotels and other properties open to the public must do certain things to keep patrons as safe as possible. They must keep walkways clear, and post signs warning of any hazardous situations that exist, such as a hole or a wet floor. Some businesses hire a security staff to make sure things stay safe, or they may install security cameras and notify the public that they are in use.

These precautions do stop crime in many cases. However, it is still true that if a criminal wants to commit a crime badly enough, he or she will find commit the crime anyway. There is no way to guarantee absolute safety. If the company or hotel did all it could possibly do, and all procedures were followed, then we must accept that the crime could not likely have been prevented.  


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Most companies do the right thing and have these procedures in place. The problem arises when companies try to save money by cutting corners. Cutting out safety measures to save a little money can create a dangerous situation. Criminals are always looking for an easy target or a situation where there is no security and they have a chance to get away with the crime. When a crime happens in this scenario you need to speak with a negligent security attorney to discuss your case.

A hotel might not have its security cameras running all the time, or not train security personnel well enough, for example. If there are broken doors or gates that invite criminals to try to commit a crime. The security company itself may have fallen by not following correct procedures. Any of these cases might make the hotel liable for damages because if they had done the right thing, there is a good chance the crime would not have been committed.

The negligent security case is a civil case, meaning no criminal charge is involved. The hotel owner will not go to jail, but the company may have to hand over cash to cover your losses, depending on what the court orders if you win the suit. In a civil case, you do not have to prove beyond doubt that something happened. you must only prove the likelihood of an event or the severity of the event. According to Rasmussen College, in a criminal case you must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and in a civil case, you must have “preponderance of evidence,” or “clear and convincing” evidence that something likely happened.

The bar is set higher in a criminal case, but that does not mean a civil case is easy. It still takes a lot of work to prove negligence, and the hotel owners have their own lawyers and will make a vigorous defense. One piece of good news is that there is also more flexibility in a civil case. It can be dropped if both parties agree to a settlement, and most cases are closed before they even go to court because settlements or agreements are reached.


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If you have been injured and you feel it was because of negligence, contact a negligent security attorney to discuss your case. The consultation is normally free, and the attorney does not get paid until you win the case. The attorney fee comes out of the settlement you win, so it basically costs you nothing to file such a lawsuit if you have a reasonable case.

Matt Stoddard

As owner of The Stoddard Law Firm, Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He began a rewarding career representing those harmed by the negligence of others after having worked to defend corporations in serious injury and wrongful death cases. Since that time, Matt Stoddard has tried numerous high dollar cases in the Atlanta area. He has been honored by being named a Rising Star by Georgia Super Lawyers, among the Legal Elite by Georgia Trend and the Top Attorneys in Georgia by Atlanta Magazine.

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