1. Can I make a claim against a business owner after an attack, even if the offender was never identified and/or charged?
ANSWER: Yes. Regardless of the outcome of criminal prosecution, or even if there was no prosecution, crime victims can file civil lawsuits against offenders and other responsible parties. Unlike the criminal justice system, the civil justice system does not attempt to determine an offender's guilt.
2. Will the third party offender be sentenced to prison as a result of my claim for negligent security?
ANSWER: No. Civil courts attempt to ascertain whether an offender or third party, such as a business or property owner, failed to provide adequate security and are therefore liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime.
3. Can my hotel or motel be held liable if I was attacked at work?
ANSWER: Maybe. In Missouri, our worker's compensation system may prevent a separate civil action. However, there are exceptions, and depending on the circumstances, claims may still be pursued against other parties, co-employees or the employer for certain egregious conduct that unreasonably raises the risks faced by workers. Even employers have a duty to make a workplace safe. Installing proper lighting, security cameras and employing security guards are a few ways to help protect employees.
4. Can an apartment complex be held liable for an attack on their property?
ANSWER: Yes. Landlords also have a duty to maintain a safe premise. Similar to that of an employer, installation of proper lighting, security cameras and employing security guards are ways to help protect tenants and guests. Other methods are also available, such as making communal areas accessible only to residents by access code, security cards, or keys in order to keep non-tenants and potential assailants out.
5. What damages can be recovered under a negligent security action?
ANSWER: Damages that potentially can be recovered include medical expenses, wage loss, property loss, out of pocket expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
6. What should I ask a potential landlord/apartment complex manager before signing a lease?
ANSWER: Before moving into a rental property or apartment complex, ask the owner or landlord to provide the complex's statistics on criminal conduct. Also contact your local police station to find out if the complex is a hotbed for criminal activity. Make sure the parking lot is well lit at all times and check for security cameras on the premises and for any areas that are not under video surveillance. Ask the property manager if there are patrolling security officers.
7. What should I look for in choosing a hotel or motel at which to stay?
ANSWER: Much like an apartment complex, look for restricted access, adequate lighting, surveillance cameras and security guards. If you see unruly activity in the parking lot or lobby you may want to choose a different hotel. Although a security guard in a scissor-lift guard station may look like a source of protection, it is more likely a signal that violent criminal activity has been occurring at the premises. Guests should consider requesting assistance with their baggage, parking, and determine if there are restricted access floors.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a crime, you should consult with a competent negligent security attorney to assist in pursuing a legal claim for compensation.
Holder Susan Slusher, LLC handles crime victims/premises security cases in St. Louis, Kansas City and throughout Missouri and mid Missouri. Contact our legal team at (573) 710-4716 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.