Many people, both men and women, can feel nervous about spending the night in a hotel or motel that they’ve never been to before -and for good reason. Unfortunately, violent assaults, including sexual assaults to tourists, travelers, vacationers and locals can and do happen in Miami.
Whether you are visiting from out of state or you’re a local, and you were sexually assaulted while staying in a hotel or motel in Miami, FL, you may have a legal case and be entitled to compensation. While no one ever expects to be assaulted physically or sexually, it can happen to anyone.
Our Miami premises liability attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have and help you understand your legal options.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Sexual Assault?
In these types of cases, there are usually two defendants:
- The person who assaulted you. Sexual assault is a crime, but it is also a civil wrong called a “tort.” Florida law allows victims to sue for assault and receive monetary compensation.
- The hotel or motel where the attack happened. These businesses must provide adequate security for their guests, and they can be held liable when they fail to.
In many situations, suing the perpetrator is not practicable, either because he flees before you can identify him, or because he has no resources to pay a settlement. Things are different when suing a hotel or motel. They have large insurance policies that should pay compensation, so adding them as defendants in your civil suit is often ideal.
Was the Hotel or Motel Negligent in Providing Security to Patrons?
A hotel or motel is not automatically liable for any assault that happens on its property. Instead, we need to show that the security they provided was inadequate. For example, the locks on the door might not have worked, or the windows or sliding glass doors were missing locks. These are basic safety features that hotels should provide guests.
The hotel might also have been negligent by not responding to complaints about a guest or not asking a suspicious person to leave the premises. If hotel staff sees someone skulking about but doesn’t intervene, then they could have been negligent if this person goes on to assault a guest.
This is a complex area of law with few “bright line” rules. Instead, we must analyze the history of assault, including sexual assault, on the premises, as well as the totality of safety precautions taken. Whether the establishment installed security cameras or hired enough security guards are also relevant considerations.
We Will Fight for Your Rights & Full Recovery
Some sexual assault victims feel too embarrassed to report the crime. We strongly encourage that you do so, and go to the hospital for a rape kit.