Premises liability law can hold a property owner or business responsible for an assault on their property.
If a sexual assault happened because the owner failed to keep safe premises, the owner could be liable. The victim might have a premises liability claim to recover compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Sexual Assault in Georgia
Premises liability claims can help you seek justice after a terrible crime against you. At John Foy & Associates, our premises liability lawyers know how to hold property owners accountable. We can investigate your situation and determine your rights.
In many cases, going through the criminal courts is not the only option. A premises liability claim may also help you recover money for what was taken from you.
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Calculating Damages for Sexual Assault
The law allows you to seek damages after wrongdoing. Every case is different, so your damages will depend on the details. Our lawyers can determine the type of compensation you deserve based on your situation.
There are two main types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are tangible losses. You can prove these damages through documents like medical bills.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Doctor bills
- Prescription medications
- Mental health counseling
- Lost income
- Property damage
You’ll need to gather proof of these damages to include in your claim. Your case will also need to show that the costs resulted from the assault or the property owner’s negligence.
Compared with economic losses, non-economic damages are less straightforward. They are about how the assault has impacted your life.
Sexual assault cases often lead to many non-financial damages like:
- Pain and suffering
- Fear, shame, or embarrassment
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The effects of a sexual assault can be extreme. Victims need to get the medical and emotional support they need afterward. Our lawyers can help you in seeking the resources you need.
Another category of damages might be available in some cases. Punitive damages are awarded to:
- Discourage the at-fault party from future wrongdoing
- Punish the at-fault party for their role
- Set a public example for what can happen with similar behavior
Punitive damages are rare. However, the courts might award them in extreme situations. That can include sexual assault cases. According to the OCGA §51-12-5.1, punitive damages are awarded when there is behavior like:
- Willful misconduct
- An entire lack of care
We can help determine what damages you’re entitled to receive, including punitive damages. If an assault happened after a property owner was negligent, they could be responsible for your damages.
How Premises Liability Ties into Sexual Assault
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), premises liability claims for third-party criminal acts have been increasing. There is a great need for property owners to keep their premises safe for tenants, customers, and visitors.
If you were assaulted, you have a case against the assailant. But you might also have a claim against the person who owns the property. If they did not take appropriate safety precautions to prevent assaults, they could be partially at fault.
Unsafe premises can make it easier for criminals to carry out acts. Common areas that often need increased safety include:
- Parking lots
- Hotel elevators
- Poorly-lit hallways or staircases
- Public transportation
- Bars and clubs
Unsafe Premises Can Increase Crime
Criminals look for opportunities to carry out terrible acts. If a business or property isn’t secure, the attacker will find it easier to cause harm.
Faulty safety measures can include:
- A lack of security officers
- Poorly-trained security officers
- Broken or inadequate door locks or window latches
- Bad lighting in common areas
- No security cameras in risky areas
Property owners should be aware of the crime rates in their area. If they fail to provide security where assaults are common, that’s a sign of negligence. To have a valid case, you’ll need to prove that the owner’s negligence (or carelessness) contributed to the assault.
Proving Premises Liability for Sexual Assault
If you suffered an assault on someone else’s property, you might deserve compensation from the property owner. The owner may be liable for your damages, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-3-1. However, the burden is on the victim to prove responsibility.
Your case must prove that:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care.
- The owner breached their duty of care.
- The breached duty led to the assault.
- The assault caused your damages.
Sexual assaults can impact a victim’s entire life. Even if the physical pain is minimal, the emotional effects can last for a long time. Some victims struggle with fear, shame, and embarrassment their entire lives.
Duty of Care
The first step is proving the property owner’s legal duty to you. In Georgia, there are three primary relationships you can have with a property owner:
- Invitee: someone the owner “induces or leads” onto the property for lawful reasons
- Licensee: someone who is on the property for their own interests or convenience but is not a customer, employee, or trespasser
- Trespasser: someone without permission to be on the property
Property owners have the highest duty to invitees. They must keep their premises safe to avoid causing harm. Owners must also warn licensees about non-obvious dangers on the property.
The Property Owner Must Know that Danger Exists
A property owner must have known there was a dangerous condition that could cause harm. With sexual assault cases, the owner must have known there were assault risks. There must have been knowledge of the danger for the owner to take action.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-800-4408
Talk to a Sexual Assault Lawyer for Free Today
After a sexual assault on someone’s property, don’t wait to get legal counsel. At John Foy & Associates, we can handle the details while you focus on physical and emotional recovery.
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