Victims of crime who suffer physical or mental injury may have legal rights to receive financial compensation. This is something many victims of crime don’t ever consider, or if they do, it’s often too late to take any legal action. The statute of limitations for crime victim injury lawsuits in Philadelphia is usually 2 years from the date of the incident or crime. Victims who were minors get a little more time, 2 years after they turn 18 years of age. Child molestation and sexual abuse of minors gets entirely different treatment under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations laws.
Why Are Crime Victim Injury Lawsuits Filed Against Businesses?
Under Pennsylvania law, an individual who is the victim of crime in Philadelphia has the legal right to seek compensation from not only the criminal perpetrator, but also any other party that: 1. owed a legal duty to protect the individual, and 2. knew or should have known about the criminal conduct.
The reality is that a random act of crime isn’t always random. Other parties, such as businesses, often have reason to suspect that criminal conduct may occur. A seemingly random assault at a bar or shopping mall may have been avoided, if the business owner had taken reasonable steps to warn patrons or provide security measures.
Did the Business Owe the Victim a Legal Duty?
Whether a business owed a legal duty to the victim in a Philadelphia crime victim injury case boils down to the simple question – was the business open to the public? Businesses that are open to the public like bars, restaurants, etc., usually have legal duties to their patrons, guests, etc. For example, a bar/club in Philadelphia has a legal duty to each and every patron that comes into the establishment.
Apartment complex owners/managers, retail stores and shopping centers may also owe legal duties, not only to their own patrons and guests, but also to tenants, employees of tenants and even guests of tenants.
Under Pennsylvania law, businesses have the duty to protect guests and tenants from unreasonable risks of harm, which includes foreseeable criminal conduct.
Did the Business Know or Should It Have Known About the Criminal Conduct?
The question of whether the business knew or should have known about the crime is really a question of foreseeability. Was it reasonable for the business to have foreseen the criminal conduct? On a more basic, or non-legal level, the question is, how is it possible that a business could have foreseen that a crime was going to happen? The answer depends on what happened BEFORE the actual crime occurred.
Crime victim injury cases in Philadelphia are successful when there is evidence of one of two things. First, did the business create a situation that led directly to the crime? Second, were there prior reports of criminal conduct in the days, weeks or months prior to the incident in question?
Stay tuned for a later article on specific examples of how these legal issues are proven. Get more info at the Pennsylvania & New Jersey Crime Victim Injury Law Library.
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. 215.399.9255