When is a Third Party Liable for a Sexual Assault?

Who is at fault when a sexual assault occurs in Oceanside or elsewhere in Southern California? Obviously, it may be possible to file a claim against the perpetrator of the assault in addition to any criminal charges that occur, but in some cases, third parties can also be liable. Indeed, sexual assaults occur with an alarming frequency in the state, and it is important to understand that it may be possible to hold a third party civilly liable for harm. According to a UC San Diego Health report, “reported incidences of sexual harassment are 5% higher for women and 10% higher for men than the national average.” Indeed, the report found that “more than 86% of women in California (compared with 81% nationally) and 53% of men (compared with 43% nationally) report having experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime.

When can you potentially hold a third party liable for sexual assault in Oceanside or another part of Southern California? It will depend on the circumstances, but our San Diego County injury lawyers can provide more information.

Hotel/Motel, Night Club, and Retail Store Owner Liability for Sexual Assault

Some of the most common circumstances under which a third party can be held liable for a sexual assault are those in which a property owner’s negligence played a role in allowing a sexual assault to occur (or in making it easier for the perpetrator to commit the sexual assault). Most often, this type of third-party liability arises when a sexual assault takes place at a hotel or motel, at a nightclub or bar, or in the parking lot of a retail store. 

How are owners liable for sexual assaults in these types of situations? Often liability exists because the owner failed to properly secure a door lock or window (at a hotel or motel, for example), failed to repair broken lighting (at a hotel or motel, or in the parking lot of a retail store where assaults have occurred), or failed to hire security (at a night club or bar where sexual assaults have taken place, for instance). Even if the property owner did not know that the assault was going to occur and had no part in it, they can still be liable due to their negligence.

Liability for Sexual Assaults in Schools, Organized Sports, Churches, and Other Venues

At schools, in organized sports (both inside and outside school settings), at churches, and in other similar venues, administrators, coaches, and others in positions of authority can be liable when a sexual assault is perpetrated by an employee or when someone in a position of authority learns about an alleged assault and fails to take any action in response to the report. In some cases, the person in a position of authority may be liable in addition to the school, gym, church, or other institution.

Workplace Sexual Assaults and Liability

Employers in California have duties to respond to and prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace under California law. When they fail to do so, they may be civilly liable if a sexual assault does occur.

Contact an Oceanside Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a sexual assault, you should talk with an injury attorney in Oceanside about the possibility of filing a third-party lawsuit against a negligent party. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more.


See Related Blog Posts:

Hotel Negligence and Assaults in Vista: Five Things to Know

Hotel Safety and Liability in Encinitas

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