Understand Your Rights as a Crime Victim
Most people are familiar with the criminal justice system and how it works in relation to a criminal offender. If someone commits a crime, he or she is subject to punishment for the crime. What about the victim? The criminal system calls for fines, jail time, etc. to make sure the criminal is adequately punished- but the victim may be left with physical injuries and/or financial losses that cannot be handled in a criminal court. Fortunately for some crime victims, there are ways in which one can recover monetary compensation for his or her injuries in a civil court.
The following are viable causes of action on behalf of crime victims:
I. Negligent Security:
Have you or a loved one been attacked or made victim of a crime in a parking lot, mall or an apartment complex? You may be able to pursue a legal claim against the owners / operators of the property for negligent security. Although property owners are not directly responsible for criminal acts, it is possible that they can be responsible for any harm done to you if they failed to provide adequate lighting and/or security to protect from crimes that they could reasonably have foreseen.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security cases are part of a larger area of personal injury law known as premises liability. When a property owner is found liable for negligent security, it means that a property owner failed to adequately protect the people on his or her premises. Although a commercial property owner does not have to guarantee the safety of everyone who enters the property, he or she has a duty to protect everyone who enters from any foreseeable risks of harm.
How can a property owner know if a risk is foreseeable?
Foreseeable risks are determined based on several factors such as; a) where the property is located, b) how attractive the property may be to criminals, and c) whether or not there is a history of criminal behavior on the property or its environs. For example, if the property is located in an area that is frequented by criminals and/or there have been thefts or other crimes committed on or near the property in the past, the property owner has a duty to provide adequate security. Obviously, the security needed in a high crime area would be far greater than the security needed in an area with a low crime rate and without a history of incidents.
How Can You Prove Negligent Security?
If someone is victimized on a property that did not have adequate security, he or she may be eligible for monetary compensation if the victim can prove that that the property owner knew, or should have known, that someone would be harmed on his or property because the property was located in a high-crime area. Proving negligent security is not an easy task and you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights. All negligent security cases require a security expert to review crime statistics and to give his or her expert opinion on the amount of security needed in the particular area in which the individual was victimized.
Can I Receive Money Damages in Negligent Security Cases?
If a security expert concludes that a property owner failed in his or her duty to protect visitors or employees, a crime victim has the right to recover damages for any personal injuries suffered as a result of the crime. Because negligent security cases involve complex legal issues, one should contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Rothenberg Law Firm immediately to learn about your rights. The initial consultation is always free and our firm works on a contingency fee basis. This means, you do not pay unless and until we recover money for you.
II. A Dram Shop Action:
Have you been injured as a result of an intoxicated individual? If that intoxicated individual was visibly intoxicated and yet was nevertheless served alcohol, you may have a cause of action under the category of “dram shop liability.”
What does it mean to bring a “dram shop” action?
A dram shop action is brought by an injured plaintiff for personal injuries that he or she received as a result of a bar, restaurant, or establishment serving alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated and that intoxicated individual later injured the plaintiff. Nearly all U.S. states have laws governing “dram shop liability” which state that bar owners and the like have a duty to stop serving alcohol to anyone who is clearly intoxicated or who is below the age of 21. The reason behind this law is to prevent drunken driving accidents and the like. If one refuses to serve people who are already drunk or underage, the bar or restaurant may help prevent intoxicated people from causing damage.
How Can You Prove Dram Shop Liability?
The criteria upon which dram shop liability is based varies from state to
state. Some states will require the plaintiff to prove that the bar or restaurant knew that the person they were serving was a “habitual drunkard.” Other states may allow an injured plaintiff to bring an action against a bar or restaurant if it continued to serve alcohol to someone who was “visibly intoxicated,” even if the person was not known as a “habitual drunkard.” In addition to proving either habitual drunkenness or visible intoxication, most U.S. states require the injured plaintiff to prove several other aspects. One must prove that the bar or restaurant sold alcohol to the defendant and that the defendant’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Does Dram Shop Liability Include Illegal Sales of Alcohol?
Yes, dram shop laws usually cover illegal sales of alcohol, even if the person who illegally purchased the alcohol was not visibly intoxicated nor known as a “habitual drunkard.” An example of this is in the situation in which a bar, restaurant, or liquor shop owner serves alcohol to a minor. If that minor causes an accident while under the influence of the alcohol he purchased illegally, the venue that allowed him to purchase the alcohol could be held responsible under the Dram Shop laws.
Does Dram Shop Liability Apply to Other Torts Other Than Drunk Driving?
In many states, dram shop liability may extend to other torts like assault and/or battery. Take the following situation as an example: If a bar or restaurant serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and then that person goes out and assaults someone, the victim may be able to bring a lawsuit against the venue that served the alcohol.
Can I Receive Money Damages If I Can Prove Dram Shop Liability Applies?
If a plaintiff can prove that a bar or restaurant owner violated dram shop laws, a person harmed by an intoxicated individual has the right to recover damages for any personal injuries suffered as a result of the bar owners actions. Because dram shop cases involve complex legal issues, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Rothenberg Law Firm immediately to learn about your rights. The initial consultation is always free and our firm works on a contingency fee basis. This means, you do not pay unless and until we recover money for you.
III. Negligent Supervision:
Has your child or elderly relative been injured as a result of negligent supervision? Have you been mistreated at your workplace by another employee? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you or your relatives may be eligible to seek financial compensation.
What is Negligent Supervision?
Negligent supervision can occur in several settings.
For children, negligent supervision would apply in the situation in which a child was injured as a result of the inattention of a caregiver and/or if your child was injured when other people failed to supervise the child properly. Negligent supervision of children can happen at school, camp, daycare, houses of worship, or even in a private home. School teachers, coaches, camp counselors, babysitters, daycare providers etc. are examples of people and organizations that could be held responsible for failing to properly supervise a child.
For elderly people, negligent supervision most often occurs in nursing homes and usually applies in the situation of an inattentive caregiver or in a facility that fails to properly supervise an elderly person in its care.
Negligent supervision can also apply in the workplace. For example, a case for negligent supervision may arise in the situation where an employer does not make sure that its employees obey company safety policies and an employee is sexually harassed by a fellow employee. In this situation and others similar to it, a company may be held responsible for the criminal or tortious behavior of its employees.
Negligent Supervision of Children:
Common examples of negligent supervision of children include:
- A daycare facility failing to properly monitor all children on the premises either by not having adequate staff or by failing to protect children from any violent children in the same facility;
- An accidental shooting after a child finds an unsecured gun in his or her home;
- A coach permitting a student to vandalize property; and
- A parent allowing a young child to drive a car without a license.
Negligent Supervision of the Elderly:
Common examples of negligent supervision of the elderly include:
- Failing to prevent patients with memory loss such as Alzheimer Disease or Dementia from wandering off or around the premises alone;
- Bed sores or infection caused by the failure to maintain proper hygiene;
- Lack of supervision of fall-risk patients which may lead to injures from falls; and
- Failing to report signs or symptoms of financial and/or physical abuse.
Negligent Supervision of Employees:
Common examples of negligent supervision of employees include:
- Ignoring violence, threats or sexual harassment in the workplace;
- Allowing intoxicated employees to operate machinery;
- The failure to provide adequate training and supervision when equipping employees with dangerous tools, weapons, and/or chemicals
Can I Receive Compensation for the Injuries Caused by Negligent Supervision?
In order to bring a case for negligent supervision, the injured party must prove the following: the defendant had responsibility to monitor the child, elderly person, or employee in question; he or she must have failed to properly supervise that person; the person must have been injured as a result of the lack of supervision and the injury due to the lack of supervision must have been foreseeable. Proving negligent supervision is a complex process and requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney at The Rothenberg Law Firm to determine if you have a case. Contact our firm today to learn about your rights.
IV. Social Host Liability
Social Host Liability:
Have you or someone you loved been injured as a result of an intoxicated individual who was served drinks by a social host? You may be entitled to financial compensation if your situation falls under the category known as “Social Host Liability.”
What is Social Host Liability?
Social Host Liability broadens the legal responsibility for those who become intoxicated beyond the person who consumes the alcohol to those who actually serve the alcohol or allow for the consumption on his or her property. Of course, the intoxicated person is liable to anyone injured as a result of his actions, but social host liability means that the intoxicated individual may share that liability with a host who provided the alcohol. In addition to the host being liable for injuries that may occur as a result of the intoxicated individual’s actions, the social host may also be liable for injuries suffered by the intoxicated guest as well.
What is the Definition of a Social Host?
The definition of a Social Host Liability varies from state to state, but most states define a social host as follows:
- A person who serves alcohol as an act of hospitality with no intention of earning money from the alcohol - meaning the person serving drinks is not a commercial enterprise, such as a bar or restaurant.
- A person who serves alcohol has no special relationship with the person being served.
- A person who serves alcohol or allows for the consumption of alcohol on property that the host controls. The property is usually a home, but it can also be one of many other areas such as a hotel room, boat, beach house or any other property over which the host has control.
Can I Collect Money From a Social Host?
If you were injured and believe your injuries were caused as a result of a negligent social host, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Proving social host liability is a complex process, and you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney at The Rothenberg Law Firm to determine your right to sue. Your initial consultation is free and we work on a contingency fee basis - which means we do not collect money from you unless and until we are successful in obtaining money for your case.
DIRECT SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline - www.childhelp.org - Tel: 800-4-A-Child
Mothers Against Drunk Driving - www.madd.org - Tel: 877-MADD-HELP
National Domestic Violence Hotline - www.thehotline.org - Tel: 800-799-SAFE
National Organization for Victim Assistance - www.trynove.org - Tel: 800-TRY-NOVA
National Children's Alliance - www.nationalchildrensalliance.org - Tel: 800-239-9950