Crime Victim Injury Lawsuits in Philadelphia – Legal Issues and Proof

A discussion of Philadelphia crime victim injury lawsuits and the legal issues that arise, which include establishing a duty of care and foreseeability. Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the victim, and was the criminal act reasonably foreseeable?

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Crime victim injury lawsuits in Philadelphia have been increasing over the past decade. Victims are more informed about their legal rights than they were 10 years ago. In addition, the number of sexual abuse or assault lawsuits have increased due to several high profile cases in Pennsylvania.

Under Pennsylvania law, parties other than the criminal perp can be held liable for having knowledge that a crime would happen, but failing to take reasonable steps to stop or prevent it. The two examples below focus exclusively on issues related to negligence of other parties and how that negligence leads to liability in a Philadelphia crime victim injury lawsuit.

In order to succeed in a lawsuit against a party other than the criminal perp, the injured victim has to show that the party owed a duty of care to the victim and that the party knew or should have known about the crime, before it actually happened. Get more info about negligence in crime victim injury cases in Philly.

In this article, our crime victim injury lawyers discuss legal issues in two of the most common types of crime victim injury cases filed in Philadelphia.

Victim Injury Crime in Philadelphia – Sexual Assault

Did the party owe the victim a duty of care?

The answer depends on the relationship between the victim and party. In some instances, such as those involving a minor, a party such as a school or church will most certainly owe a duty of care to the victim/minor.

But what about sexual assaults that occur at places like bars/clubs or places like a shopping mall? It depends on where the assault occurs. If the assault occurs on the premises or even in the parking lot and it was reasonable that management/owners should have foreseen the incident, the bar may be liable. If the assault occurs in a private area, that is not controlled or maintained by the establishment, it is highly unlikely for the party to be held liable. However, every case is unique and depends on the facts. It is important to have a lawyer review the case.

Victim Injury Crimes in Philadelphia – Physical Assault & Shootings

Did the party know or have reason to suspect that the crime would happen?

This issue is one of the more complex issues in a crime victim injury case, like a physical assault or shooting case. The real issue here is foreseeability. Was it reasonable for the business/party to have foreseen that the crime would happen?

The answer depends on proof and evidence. In order for a party to have been in a position to foresee anything, there must have been prior reports of similar conduct, and the party must have been made aware of them. Here’s an example to clarify this point.

An employee of a store located in a shopping mall is walking to her car at night after her shift. She is mugged in the parking lot and sustains serious physical injuries. Whether the shopping mall owner/operator is liable depends on whether there was any reason to suspect that the mugging would happen. Did the mall receive reports of muggings, robberies or thefts prior to the specific incident? If so, where and when did those prior incidents happen?

If the circumstances of the prior reports were sufficiently similar to the incident at issue, there would be a fair argument that the mall should have increased security measures, such as hiring additional security, implementing better lighting after dark and/or warning its patrons and tenants of the risk.

Financial Recovery for Crime Victims in PA & NJ

Crime victims don’t often realize that they may be able to obtain financial compensation for the resulting physical injuries and mental trauma. There are ways for victims to make claims via state-funded victims compensation laws or through criminal cases, i.e., restitution. Click the link to learn more about restitution for crime victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The drawback to claims for restitution or making a claim through a crime victim compensation fund is that no claims are allowed for pain and suffering, which for many victims is life-long. Filing a civil lawsuit for a crime allows the victim to make a claim for any economic losses, but also for pain and suffering. When other parties such as businesses are sued, the likelihood of getting financial compensation increases, because businesses are almost always covered by commercial insurance policies which apply to these types of cases.

For example, in a Philadelphia crime victim injury case involving an assault at a bar, the victim’s claim against the bar is successful due to evidence that the bar negligently served alcohol to the perpetrator. The bar is covered by an insurance policy with a liability limit of up to $1,000,000. Therefore, the victim may be able to obtain up to $1,000,000 under the insurance policy. Learn more about how commercial insurance works in a personal injury case.

Crime Victim Injury Lawyers in Philadelphia

Our crime victim injury lawyers help victims of crime in Philadelphia obtain financial compensation for their physical and mental injuries. Firm founder Brian Kent is a top rated injury lawyer and has handled dozens of crime victim injury cases. Call the firm’s Philadelphia office for a free consultation. (866) 641-0806

DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.