Property Owner Liability for Motel Rape and Assault Crimes

When someone is the victim of a rape or assault crimes on the property of a business, such as a motel, the owner may hold some liability. Victims of crime typically have a difficult time holding property owners liable for their injuries, but there are circumstances in which it is possible.

In New York, personal injury lawyers can help Long Island victims of assault crimes and motel rape incidents explore taking legal action against a property owner whose negligence may have led to or failed to prevent the incident.

Liability for Criminal Activities like Assault Crimes or Motel Rape Incidents

When it comes to businesses such as motels or hotels, they will sometimes limit, waive or exclude liability for certain activities, such as crimes committed by third parties. In these circumstances, a victim may need to show that the owner acted unreasonably by failing to provide reasonable care to provide for the safety of hotel guests.

If a hotel limits or waives liability, guests must be notified. It must be posted in an area where it is prominently displayed. When it’s not and it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect a guest to see it, this could nullify the exclusion of liability. This may require legal assistance and evaluation in New York from a personal injury lawyer in Long Island who can help determine if these standards are met.

Responsibility for criminal activities of a third party could also be found with other types of landowners, such as an owner of an apartment building or parking lot. No matter what the type of business, what needs to be proven is that there was negligence or unreasonable care that led to or failed to prevent the attack.

Establishing Negligence in a Claim Stemming from Motel Rape or Assault Crimes 

The circumstances under which a property owner could be liable for a third party crime vary. One example is when there is knowledge of the potential for criminal activities to take place.

If there are previous incidents of rape or other violent types of crimes or the motel or other business is located in a high crime area, not taking measures to prevent future crimes (such as by changing locks or increasing security) might be considered negligent.

When a third party is able to gain access to a property and should not have been able to, this could also result in landowner liability: 

  • broken locks;
  • malfunctioning doors;
  • inadequate security; and
  • locked doors left unlocked or open.

Missing or broken equipment of which the property owner was aware but failed to fix could also be factored into liability for assault crimes or motel rape incidents: 

  • security cameras;
  • buzzer/intercom systems;
  • windows;
  • electronic key card devices; and
  • lighting.

It would be difficult to find a property owner liable if the criminal activity was unforeseeable and if reasonable care was given to prevent such crimes from taking place. In some cases, it might be determined that premeditation of a crime would make the assailant’s intent impossible to prevent.

If a property owner is found liable, it may only be partially. But in certain circumstances, it is possible to hold him or her totally responsible for the crime. Victims in New York should discuss the specific circumstances with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island.

It will be important to have evidence that establishes liability. If it’s a matter of something being broken, such as a door, pictures should be taken. When there are previous incidences of criminal activities, it would be helpful to get copies of police reports.

If there are others who can testify to the crimes or even the lack of security or whatever form of negligence is cited in the claim, this could significantly help as well.

Consult New York Personal Injury Lawyers for Help with a Long Island Claim

Seek legal counsel in New York with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. We handle premises liability cases and can assist with a property liability claim involving a motel rape or assault crime.

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