Sexual Assault – Can Property Owners be Liable?

By Kayla Ferrel

Someone is attacked every 98 seconds in the United States and that’s just the ones we know about. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates on average only 26% of victims report their sexual assault to the police. This is because most women and men think nothing can be done, felt it was a private matter, afraid of police response or felt it was their fault. Unfortunately, these thoughts are what keep perpetrators on the streets to terrorize others.

At Onder Law, we are committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault. We are mindful that the emotional impact of sexual abuse and assault can leave one emotionally devastated and the financial burdens can become overwhelming. Many are unaware they not only have a criminal case against the perpetrator but a potential civil case as well. Too often we find victims are sexually assaulted in parking lots, schools, hotels, and many other public or privately owned entities. Due to this, victims may have the ability to file a premise liability claim to help compensate for emotional pain and suffering, any costs of necessary counseling and treatment, any necessary medical care costs and other financial and emotional damages they have sustained.

Property owners are responsible for people who visit their property by express or implied invitation. This includes guests at a hotel, diners at a restaurant, shoppers at the mall, or residents or their guests at an apartment complex. These types of businesses are responsible for providing appropriate lighting, working locks, and security personnel, where applicable. When a property owner is negligent in maintaining or updating the safety features of their property, innocent people can become the victims of violent crime.

Schools, churches and daycare facilities also hold a huge responsibility in assuring the safety of children. However, studies show one in every seven victims of sexual assault is under the age of six and one in four victims of sexual assault under the age of twelve is a boy. These numbers are simply shameful, and we must do more to ensure the safety of our children. Unfortunately, children are taught to respect adults and listen to authority. Tragically, there are predatory adults who thrive on this notion and use it to take advantage of and sexually assault young boys and girls. It takes so much courage for a young child to tell an adult and as their parent or guardian you must step in and explore every avenue to protect your child. While financial compensation cannot reverse what happened, it is the way our legal system allows for holding people and businesses accountable.

Our goal as premises liability attorneys handling violent crime cases is to help you recover some semblance of normalcy in your life. A settlement will not only allow you to recover financially but give a small peace of mind knowing those who failed to help prevent the crime will be held responsible.

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