In California, the operator of a business has an obligation to use reasonable efforts to protect their patrons, even from one another. If a proprietor can anticipate a violent act on their property they must take steps to prevent that from occurring. Under the law, this is known as the “special relationship” doctrine, and it applies because a business owner generally has a special duty to protect their patrons they have invited onto their property. Business owners derive a benefit from their paying customers so they must do what they can to protect those same people.
Examples of Where the Duty to Protect Arises
The typical examples of the types of businesses on whom this duty is imposed include establishments where alcohol is sold. If a bar, nightclub or restaurant owner can see they have a dangerous patron (usually because they are intoxicated), the business must take steps to ensure the disorderly patron leaves or others are protected from any violence. All other businesses are subject to this same duty where violence can or has occurred. Even grocery stores have this same obligation if someone poses a threat. The primary issue arising in these assault cases is whether the business owner and/or their employees had the opportunity and ability to prevent from the assault from occurring, Generally, the amount of time that passes between the notice of something dangerous and the occurrence of the assault is what makes or breaks these cases. For example, if an unruly patron threatens someone on the business property but the assault takes place minutes later, it can be inferred the business owner’s employees had sufficient time to remove the dangerous patron from the premises to prevent the attack. Additionally, where a business has a history of violent acts on their property but fails to provide security for their patrons’ safety, they may be held liable when an assault occurs.
After an Assault at a Business
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault, medical attention for the injuries suffered and evidence gathering should be the first things considered. Seeking medical attention soon after an assault is important in order to prove what injuries were suffered. This evidence will be needed in any civil or criminal case arising from the attack. Some people assume that a business will look out for them and do what they can to preserve evidence. This is often not the case. Cell phone photographs of the location and visible injuries suffered should be taken. Requesting any video be held as evidence is also a good idea.
Contact an Experienced Assault Attorney
Hiring an experienced injury attorney can help you present your claim and your lawsuit in a compelling manner. This is one of the most important steps in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Mr. Ralph has decades of experience at handling assault cases arising from attacks on business property. As an Orange County personal injury attorney, Mr. Ralph has litigated assault claims arising on bar, restaurant and motel properties. He can be reached via e-mail or at the phone number below. Tags: assault attorney