ATMs are great conveniences when you need quick cash. But they can also leave you vulnerable to violent robberies. Thieves wait for someone to use the cash machine. Once their target has withdrawn the money, they attack. Not only do they rob their victim, they may also leave them with severe injuries along with possible mental trauma.
Obviously, the criminal is the person most directly responsible for your injuries if that happens to you. But they might not be the only party liable for damages under Georgia law. The bank that owns the ATM might have done things that failed to keep you reasonably safe from crime while using it.
What your bank can do
Banks can take steps to protect their ATM customers, such as:
- Keeping the machines inside behind security doors that customers unlock with their debit card
- Placing the machine in public view and keeping the area well lit
- Having enough machines so that customers don’t have to wait long for their turn
- Placing mirrors on the machine to allow the user to see if anyone is approaching or watching them
Vicarious liability explained
If you are ever assaulted at an ATM, you might have a claim against the bank. A bank that knew (or reasonably should have known) that one of its ATMs is in an unsafe environment that attracts criminals may be liable when someone gets seriously hurt there. This is due to a legal principle called vicarious liability, which states that a third party that was not at the scene of an injury can be liable if their negligence contributed to the harm suffered.