Can Business Owners Be Sued for Criminal Attacks?
I recently read a newspaper article about a man who had been arrested for beating up a fellow bar patron who was talking to the man's girlfriend. That in itself is probably not unusual, but the article mentioned that bar personnel told the police that this man had previously been a problem and had done this before.
Having known about the man’s prior record of violence, could the owner of the establishment be held partially at fault for the attack? Absolutely.
Prior notice by the proprietor is usually the key to successfully suing a business owner for a criminal attack. One incident alone normally does not provide sufficient evidence of a problem that needs to be addressed by the business owner. However, when a business is located in an area that has a history of crimes occurring or has record of a particular person causing trouble with patrons, liability is all but guaranteed.
Most police departments keep track of crime statistics and maintain a "grid" of crimes in particular areas. Those statistics or reports can be obtained, and the entire history of crimes in the area where the business is located can be used to suggest that the business owner failed to protect his/her customers. Additionally, when a patron has a history of causing trouble for others, it is a warning sign that a business owner should be aware of.
The newspaper article mentioned that the aggressor had a history of hostility towards patrons who were being friendly to his bartender girlfriend. The man that was assaulted will need plastic surgery and may have a permanent disability. He has an all-but-guaranteed successful lawsuit against the bar owner.
Persons who have experienced criminal attacks in or near businesses need an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by naypong