In a historic settlement in late 2015, a woman named Kira Wahlstrom in Massachusetts won a $4 million verdict against the property companies that owned and managed the Radisson Hotel parking garage where she was raped. Wahlstrom was getting out of a garage elevator in the early morning hours of May 1, 2009, when Jose Ruben Rivera III grabbed her hair, dragged her to a stairwell, and sexually assaulted her for 25 minutes. The jury determined that the companies were negligent in not providing proper security in the Stuart Street parking garage, especially in light of a previous rape committed by Ribera, which occurred 12 days before Wahlstrom’s attack.
According to Wahlstrom’s attorney, the parking garage should have taken greater precautions, and failed to live up to required standards of care to keep the property safe.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the law that mandates that property owners, landlords, and business owners are held responsible for the injuries and deaths that occur on their land. A homeowner, commercial building owner or even an apartment complex or condominium owner could be held liable for any injuries that occur to someone while on the premises. Every property owner has a duty to ensure that his or her property is safe for anyone who enters it, be it from slippery floors or assaults s/he should have known would reasonably occur. In the example above, negligent security is a subset of premise liability in which a property owner can be held liable when a lawful guest becomes a victim of a criminal act that could have been prevented by the owner’s reasonable actions.
Premises liability is highly dependent on the facts of each individual case. The victim must demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known of the danger and that it was neglected for an unreasonable amount of time. In the example above, the rape victim was able to demonstrate that the property owners operating the Radisson Hotel should have known of the danger of rape or assault. They were negligent in curing that danger, because both security guards were stationed in the hotel lobby instead of the parking garage the night of Wahlstrom’s rape.
An Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, it is imperative that you contact a skilled Nashville personal injury attorney for help. An attorney can examine the specifics of your case and help craft a plan of attack, ensuring that you recover the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.