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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Legal Responsibility In Sexual Assault Matters

Legal Responsibility In Sexual Assault Matters


Most sexual assaults happen in publicly accessible places. One in three women say they were sexually assaulted in an apartment complex, hotel, parking lot, shopping mall, or other such location. Criminal courts punish sexual assault offenders. Civil courts compensate the victims of these offenses, so they have an easier time moving on with their lives. As outlined below, the parking lot, apartment complex, or other property owner is often financially responsible for this compensation.

Additionally, in criminal court, a sexual assault victim is only a material witness. Prosecutors represent the state, not the victims. In contrast, a Columbia personal injury attorney exclusively represents sexual assault victims and other injury victims. Instead of the best possible outcome for the state, an attorney is only interested in the best possible outcome for the victim. This outcome usually includes maximum compensation for serious physical, emotional, and other injuries.

Legal Responsibility

All South Carolina property owners have a duty of care to provide adequate security. The extent of this responsibility usually depends on the relationship between the owner and victim, as follows:

  • Invitee: When people go to places like parking lots and hotels, they are invitees if they have permission to be at that location and the owner benefits from their presence. Because of this close relationship, owners have a duty of care to keep invitees reasonably safe. This duty includes a responsibility to provide adequate security.
  • Licensee: Children who cut across parking lots on the way to school and guests of hotel guests are licensees. They have at least indirect permission to be on the premises, but the owner doesn’t benefit. The more distant relationship means a lower duty of care. Usually, owners must warn licensees about latent (hidden) defects. A caution sign about a burned-out light is usually sufficient, provided that the sign was visible and the victim could read and understand it.
  • Trespasser: Children who skateboard at parking lots or people who break into hotel rooms are trespassers (no permission and no benefit). Therefore, no duty of care applies, except a duty to refrain from intentional harm. Some loopholes, like the attractive nuisance rule, protect some trespassers in some cases.

The duty to provide adequate security varies as well, mostly on the facts of the case. In a few situations, adequate security means a hiring team of armed guards who carry assault rifles. In a few other cases, adequate security simply means locking the door. In most situations, adequate security is somewhere between these two extremes.

Practical Responsibility

If a duty of care applied, a COlumbia personal injury attorney can obtain compensation if the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard, and the victim’s injury was foreseeable (possible).

Many owners commission security surveys or warn people about security gaps. These things are direct evidence of actual knowledge. The time-notice-rule usually governs circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known). If a camera was broken for several days, the owner should have known about the hazard and should have addressed it.

Evidence of foreseeability includes prior similar incidents in the area, the neighborhood’s crime rate, type of business, and prior similar incidents at that location. Victim/plaintiff must establish foreseeability and knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Connect With 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 the Palmetto State.


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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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