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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Legal Options For Sexual Assault Victims

Legal Options For Sexual Assault Victims


South Carolina recently was at the top of a list no one wanted to be on. The Palmetto State has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. Sexual assault may be one of the worst of these violent crimes, because this offense affects victims in so many different ways. Criminal courts punish these offenders. However, in most cases, criminal courts do nothing to compensate the victims of these crimes. Indeed, sexual assault victims have almost no rights in criminal proceedings. As far as prosecutors are concerned, victims are just  material witnesses.

Civil court sexual assault cases are different. Under South Carolina law, a Columbia personal injury attorney can hold the property owner financially responsible for the attack. This financial responsibility usually includes compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. In the aftermath of such successful claims, property owners usually make their properties more secure. That action helps prevent future sexual assaults at that location.

Premises Liability Basics

South Carolina property owners have a duty of care to ensure their property is reasonably safe if the victim was an invitee. Almost all social and commercial guests are invitees. The duty of safety includes a responsibility to provide adequate security. Property owners rarely commit assaults. But their negligence creates the environments that lead to assaults. In civil court, that’s enough to establish liability for damages.

A few guests, mostly people like guests of hotel guests, are licensees. In these situations, owners must warn about negligent security and other injury hazards. However, owners don’t have a duty to address these hazards. A handful of guests are trespassers. These individuals have no permission to be on the property and do not benefit the owner. People who commit sexual assaults are clearly trespassers, so no duty of care applies to them.

In addition to establishing a duty, a Columbia personal injury attorney must prove the owner knew, or should have known, about the negligent security or other injury hazard. Direct evidence of actual knowledge, like a security report that shows a security weakness, is the best evidence of this point. This proof usually becomes available during discovery. So, if a sexual assault action settles before then, the best evidence, and therefore maximum compensation, may be unavailable.

Foreseeability of Injury

South Carolina law limits property owner liability in negligent security cases. In plain English, since the owner wasn’t directly responsible for the sexual assault, a Columbia personal injury attorney must prove foreseeability (possibility) of injury.

Several factors make a sexual assault or other third-party crime foreseeable in South Carolina, including:

  • Type of Business: Sexual assaults are very rare in and around donut shops. These incidents are a little more common at apartment complexes or other businesses where people come and go at night.
  • Business Location: Speaking of coming and going, businesses near busy highways are attractive places for criminals. Businesses or homes on cul-de-sacs are less tempting targets.
  • Prior Similar Incidents: In simple terms, if it happened before, it could happen again. The prior similar incident could be at that property or at another nearby location.

If victim/plaintiffs have strong cases, their claims usually settle out of court. These resolutions benefit victim/plaintiffs, mostly because they end cases earlier and avoid the uncertainty of trials.

Reach Out to a Thorough Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout South Carolina.


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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

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Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

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After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

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At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

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We are available around the clock for our clients. If at any point we are unavailable, we promise to promptly respond to all messages within hours.


We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

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We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

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