Mall Liability Law Q&A: Shopping mall liability for assaults


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Question: I was assaulted walking to my car at the mall. Is the mall liable for the assault?

Answer: Under both Pennsylvania and New Jersey negligence law, malls and other retail businesses may be liable for failing to take reasonable steps to protect or warn customers in the face of known or reasonably knowable risks, such as rape, robbery, assault, etc.

Related: Shopping Mall Liability for Criminal Conduct, Shootings & Assaults

The classic example involves a carjacking or robbery at a mall. A mall-goer or mall employee is walking to their car which is in an open parking lot. It is late at night and dark. The individual is mugged and assaulted, suffering serious injury. Is the mall liable for this robbery/assault? The answer depends on what the mall owner/operator knew and when.

There must be evidence that the mall owner/operator either knew or should have known about the risk of criminal activity, before the incident at issue. Proving that the mall owner knew about the risk requires obtaining internal documentation about reports of criminal activity, again prior to the incident at issue.

Proving that the mall owner should have known about the risk requires obtaining reports of criminal activity in the immediate area. For instance, if there was a slew of robbery/assault crimes in the immediate vicinity in the months prior to the specific incident, then there may be a valid argument that the mall owner should have reasonably anticipated the risk of criminal activity and therefore should have taken reasonable steps to prevent the crime or otherwise warn those in the parking lot of the risk of criminal activity.

More: New Jersey Store & Business Liability for Crimes Committed Against Customers – What You Have to Prove

In addition, it is important to note that other parties may be liable in a mall assault case. In many mall crime-injury cases, the mall owner/operator is not the only party to the case; other parties often include:

  • a mall management company,
  • a mall security company,
  • a parking lot management company, and/or
  • a parking lot security company.

Obtaining Financial Recovery

Those injured in mall assault cases may be able to obtain fair and reasonable financial compensation for their injuries, including:

  • medical bills,
  • lost wages, and
  • pain and suffering.

For more information, please visit our negligent security law library.

To learn if you may be able to receive financial recovery in your case, please call our office to set up a free consultation. Click To Call

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.