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The Basis of Liability in College Crime Lawsuits

In civil lawsuits based on college criminal activity, the immediate perpetrator (direct actor) can be held liable. However, the perpetrator is not the only party potentially liable in a civil case. Indirect actors, i.e., another individual or entity, which acted negligently can be held liable.

In order to succeed in these kinds of cases, there must be evidence of negligence which is usually defined as doing something you should not do or failing to do something you should do. Proving negligence often requires evidence that the indirect actor had knowledge of a problem but failed to take appropriate corrective action, such as taking active steps to prevent the problem or providing sufficient warning to the plaintiff, so that the event could have been avoided.

For example, a college may be held liable in a case where a student is raped in her dorm by an unknown assailant who gained entry to the dorm building due to inadequate security. Despite using a key card system, unknown individuals/non-students have been able to access the building. Here, the case will probably hinge on whether college administrators knew about the problem at some point before the rape occurred. Therefore, prior reports of unknown assailants gaining entry to the building will be important.

Related: Three Common Sex Abuse Claims Against School/Youth Organizations

Clery Act Disclosures re: College Crime Data

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Act) requires that certain colleges and universities collect and publicly disclose data related to crimes which occur on and off campus. Such data must be sent to students and employees. This type of data can be helpful in establishing liability in a civil college crime lawsuit. However, it is important to note that the Act specifically indicates that no special cause of action is recognized by a school’s failure to comply with the law’s requirements. Click here to read more about the Act’s disclosure requirements and campus security.

Financial Compensation in College Crime Civil Lawsuits

Under tort principles applicable in accident/injury lawsuits, such as a college crime lawsuit, injured individuals may be able to obtain fair and reasonable compensation for the following:

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

Depending on the severity of the injuries, the victim may be able to make a claim not only for the past expenses, but those that are reasonably expected to occur in the future. This includes pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other economic expenses. For instance, where a physical assault results in a major brain injury and permanent damage, the victim may be able to obtain compensation for future pain and suffering, future medical bills, loss of future income, etc.

Victims of College Crime – Contact a Lawyer

The Philadelphia law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents victims of crime. The firm has offices in PA, NJ, DE and NY. Our lawyers are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Illinois and also accept cases in other states on a case by case basis.

Firm founder Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who has handled dozens of civil crime cases. Our firm offers a free initial consultation. Please call Click To Call.