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ASSAULTED? YOUR ATTORNEY CAN HOLD PROPERTY OWNERS LIABLE

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When crimes and violent acts happen away from home, the attorneys for injured parties can hold the owner or manager of the property liable under an area of the law called negligent security. That’s because possessors of property have a duty to offer reasonable security measures to protect lawful visitors from crimes by third parties, including assault, rape, and theft.

Just this month, a $3.5 million verdict was awarded to a California woman who was raped four years ago, after her assailant got a key to her room from the hotel’s front desk.

The rapist, a co-worker of the woman’s boyfriend, impersonated the boyfriend to obtain a key from the front desk clerk. The man pleaded guilty to rape and was sentenced to six years in prison. The hotel clerk and her employer, the operator of the hotel chain, were then sued for violating the hotel’s standard of care. The jury apportioned 40% liability to the rapist, 60% liability to the hotel employee and the property owner.

As personal injury attorneys here in Indiana, we believe there are several “takeaways” from this true story:

  • The hotel was subject to premises liability, because the injury to the young woman was enabled by its neglect of proper safety procedures to protect its guests.
  • Victims of sexual abuse may be entitled to financial compensation, which can help them rebuild their lives. Until and unless victims speak out, often nothing happens to prevent the crime from happening over and over again.
  • Sexual abuse often results in very severe and long-lasting physical, psychological, and financial consequences for the victim. In the story above, the victim was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and subsequently underwent psychiatric treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • The criminal prosecution resulted in jail time for the rapist. But only through a civil lawsuit can victims of sexual abuse get monetary compensation for the physical and emotional harm they’ve suffered.

Where does the money come from, you may ask?  At Ramey & Hailey, we often bring civil suit against a place of business, an organization, or school that failed to provide proper supervision and prevention.

Assaulted? As your attorneys, we can bring suit to hold property owners liable.

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