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Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable for Sexual Assault?

Well-maintained security systems and adequate lighting are only a few examples of safety measures property owners are required to implement to provide a safe environment for customers, visitors, and/or residents. If they neglect to maintain a secure environment and these conditions result in rape or sexual assault, victims can build a premise liability case against the property owner. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience, often resulting in both physical and emotional injuries. Victims can build a case to receive possible compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from their assault.

Common Locations Involving Assault Cases

A woman standing against a wall

While sexual assault and other criminal activity can occur almost anywhere, there are certain types of locations that may be more prone to these cases. Property owners in certain locations should be aware of the possibility of assault and other illegal activities that are more likely to occur on their property. Typical locations may include:

  • Shopping centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals

Depending on the location, owners should have the proper security measures (e.g., sufficient lighting, locks on doors, security guards, cameras, and monitors) implemented. They need to provide reliable security solutions and act in a way to help keep their residents and visitors safe and avoid premises liability issues.

Handling Rape and Sexual Assault Cases

The circumstances of the scene of the assault can influence the direction of the case. Attorneys will work with claimants to help build a case, such as assessing if witnesses were present during the incident or if the lights and cameras were in good working condition. Claimants will have the upper hand if they can prove that intruders made their way through locks and other security systems. Expert witnesses and photographic evidence of the property’s conditions can help a claimant assess the injury scene and strengthen the case.

The area’s recent criminal history also has a bearing on the outcome of the claim. If the location has had frequent criminal activity and the property owner knowingly didn’t strengthen security measures in response, this could be a case of negligence.

Our compassionate and responsive team of attorneys at Leav & Steinberg LLP provides legal services that can help you understand you or your loved one’s options after a sexual assault incident. Contact our New York City office today to schedule a free consultation.