Sexual assault victims can sometimes sue a property owner if the assault happened on the owner’s property. However, there are deadlines for how long you have to file. If you miss the statute of limitations, you could lose your chance at compensation.
It’s best to start working on your case immediately. A sexual assault lawyer can ensure you file within the time limits and protect your rights. Learn more about your rights from our team at John Foy & Associates. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Time Limit for Premises Liability Sexual Assault Lawsuits
Premises liability lawsuits fall under personal injury law. Premises liability is about a dangerous or careless condition on someone’s property that causes harm.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33, you have two years to bring legal action for injuries. This is known as the statute of limitations. You must bring a lawsuit against the responsible party within two years of the date the assault occurred.
If you miss the deadline, you might be unable to recover anything. That’s why it’s beneficial to contact a lawyer who can help. An experienced lawyer will handle the legal details, including paying attention to the statute of limitations.
Civil vs. Criminal Case Limits
Bringing a premises liability lawsuit is different than filing a sexual assault case. Victims can often bring a criminal case against the person who assaulted them. The perpetrator can face fines, jail time, and other consequences if convicted.
The statute of limitations for criminal cases is different from a premises liability case. According to OCGA §17-3-1, lawsuits for felony acts must be brought within four years. If the victim was under age 16, the statute of limitations is seven years. In some cases, the limitation period will not start until the victim reaches age 16.
Civil cases are about private disputes between people or companies. If unsafe measures on property contributed to your assault, you might have a case against the property owner or business. This lawsuit would seek financial compensation for what you’ve suffered.
Premises liability lawsuits are civil cases that seek compensation from a third party—not the perpetrator.
How a Property Owner May Be Liable
All property owners in Georgia have a “duty of care” to those they invite onto their property. Owners and businesses should maintain safe premises. If a property isn’t safe and an assault happens, the owner could be responsible.
Sexual assault victims might have a legal case against a property owner. A third party can be liable for an assault if they:
- Provided inadequate security on their property
- Were negligent in supervising the victim
- Did not protect a young or vulnerable person who was assaulted
Property owners, schools, employers, and other parties might be liable. When it comes to premises liability, a property owner or company is typically responsible.
Examples of Negligent Security
Property owners should provide sufficient security to prove those on their properties. That means making sure proper safety measures are in place.
When security is inadequate, injuries and assaults may happen. Here are some ways a property owner might provide poor security:
- Not warning visitors about known risks
- Failing to install security cameras
- Providing poorly-trained security guards
- Having a lack of security personnel
- Not fixing broken windows, doors, or locks
- Failing to provide fencing, gates, or other security measures for a community
- Allowing landscaping to become overgrown or unsightly
Proving Premises Liability After a Sexual Assault
Premises liability lawsuits must include what’s known as “foreseeability.” In other words, the property owner must have known there was a reason to provide greater protection. Despite knowing the risks, they failed in their duty.
For example, maybe there had been recent incidents of sexual assault in the area. The property owner knew (or should have known) about the assaults but failed to make their property safe enough.
Before filing a premises liability lawsuit, it’s important to gather information. You’ll want to gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence and your damages. Thankfully, a sexual assault lawyer can handle those details.
Compensation You Can Seek After Being Sexually Assaulted
If someone else’s actions caused you harm, you have rights. You can seek compensation for your damages. It’s vital that you know your damages before filing a lawsuit.
The damages from a sexual assault are often significant. Besides physical injuries, the victim must live with emotional trauma—sometimes for a lifetime.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit have two main categories.
1. Economic Damages
Economic damages have a set dollar amount. They include losses like:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medication costs
- Psychological counseling
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Your lawyer can help you calculate these damages. You’ll also need to provide documentation, such as medical records and receipts.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are about how the assault has impacted your life. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), recovery from sexual assault is a process. Every survivor’s path to recovery is different, and an experienced sexual assault lawyer will be mindful of that.
Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life are examples of non-economic damages. We’ll work to put a dollar value on these damages as we build your lawsuit.
Get a Free Consultation with a Premises Liability Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
You have rights if you suffered a sexual assault on someone’s property. However, your time to take action is limited. Let our team at John Foy & Associates handle the details while you focus on healing. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.