What many crime victims do not know is that they have the right to file a civil lawsuit against not only the perpetrator, but any other parties who unreasonably failed to prevent the crime. A person who suffers damage or injury from the bad acts or accidents caused by others can seek financial remedies in civil court. There are varying types of claims that hinge upon the unique circumstances of each case. Those are explained below.
Failure to Report or Prevent Sex Abuse
Although we usually prefer to mind our business unless we know all the details, sex abuse and especially child sex abuse, are cases that need to be reported as soon as there is suspicion. Oftentimes the abuser is someone the child trusts, like a teacher or priest, which may mean extensive abuse. In addition to the abuser, the school and religious institution could be legally responsible for abuse if they did not take the proper action to report suspected abuse. These parties could also be liable if they took action to hide the abuse.
Negligent Hiring/Negligent Retention
In some cases, a business or employer could be liable for injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken when hiring an employee, or when a violent employee is negligently retained. For example, if a proper background check is not conducted or the employer hires and/or retains someone despite knowing he or she has a violent background, the employer or business could be liable if a co-worker or patron is injured by that person.
Failure to Protect Others from Criminal Activity
In Pennsylvania, law requires landowners or property management companies to foresee potential crime on properties and provide adequate security or warnings. This applies to restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, and similar establishments. It also applies to apartment complexes. Examples of this liability include landowners and property managers who fail to warn and take adequate security measures after break-ins. It also applies to landlords who provide inadequate lighting or faulty locks, which give a criminal access to the property.
Dram Shop Liability
If an intoxicated person or minor is served alcohol and later causes injury to themselves or a third party, the bar, restaurant, or social host may also be liable for the injury. A common example of dram shop liability is when a drunk driver gets into an accident after being over-served at a bar. If death or injury occurs in that accident, the establishment could be liable, in addition to the driver.
Learn more about types of insurance coverage sometimes used as financial recovery for victims.