Civil Claims for Monetary Compensation
When a serious crime like a shooting or physical assault occurs, the victim is often left with long-term injuries and financial losses. In criminal cases, restitution is often ordered as part of a sentence or plea deal, but most of the time, the victim only receives small checks, maybe once a month or a few times a year. Get more info about crime victim restitution in criminal cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In major injury cases, victims and their families may not be aware of their civil legal rights. This involves filing a lawsuit against any party whose negligent conduct led directly to the crime.
In this article, our crime victim injury lawyers discuss Pennsylvania and New Jersey law in shooting and serious assault cases.
Liability of Other Parties – Negligent Security
In a shooting or assault case in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, a defendant may be liable if two conditions are met. First, there must be evidence of negligence. The bedrock of civil liability in a crime victim injury case in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is negligence. Under general legal principles of either state, negligence is couched in terms of doing things you aren’t supposed to do (active) or failing to take reasonable actions that ordinary people would do (passive).
Second, there must be evidence that the crime was foreseeable. Once negligence is established, the next step is proving that the specific incident or crime was foreseeable. In other words, was it reasonably foreseeable that the incident/crime would have occurred? The key here is proving that the defendant had reason to know about the likelihood of criminal activity. Did the defendant receive prior notice, or reports of increased criminal activity?
If the answer to these two questions is yes, then someone who is injured would be able to file a lawsuit against the defendant. Here are two examples to explain these principles.
1. Shooting in a Public Place
A Philadelphia resident is shot while in the parking lot of a local shopping plaza. The shopping center is located in a high-crime area of the city. Prior to the incident, there had been a slew of reports of gang related activity in the parking lot, including assaults and a prior shooting. The plaza’s owner/operator had received multiple complaints, but failed to take any action.
2. Assault in a Private Place
A patient at a mental hospital escapes and breaks in to a woman’s house, where he assaults her. This particular patient was known to be violent and had escaped the hospital on 2 prior occasions. On the night of the assault, the employees responsible for checking on the patient failed to do so. The patient logs show that for a 24 hour period, no one checked on the patient.
In both instances, the shopping plaza owner and the hospital would be liable. In both examples, they were negligent, and the specific incident was foreseeable. These same principles apply to all types of businesses, including:
- parking garages, and
- retail stores.
Financial Recovery – Types of Claims
Crime victims may be able to receive compensation for any financial losses such as medical bills and lost wages. In addition, claims may be made for pain and suffering. Get more info about financial compensation claims in crime victim injury cases in PA or NJ.
To speak to one of our lawyers about a crime victim injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call our office.
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