When you go to a shopping mall, you do not expect to be the victim of an assault. You assume that the owner and manager will keep the premises safe and that you will be able to get from your car to the mall safely, be free from harm while shopping, and get your purchases back to your vehicle without incident.
Since most shoppers do not anticipate getting attacked, they usually do not know what to do afterward. Here are some steps you can take after an assault at a shopping mall to protect your health and well-being and your right to compensation for your injuries.
Call the Police
There are several reasons to call the police, including:
- So that they can catch the person. The quicker the police learn of the attack, the better chance there is of the police locating the perpetrator. If you want to sue the criminal for hurting you, you need to know who your attacker is.
- To create a paper trail of the incident, documenting what happened and linking your injuries to the attack.
- To protect your safety. If the person stole your purse or wallet or anything that contains your address, you could be in danger of additional violence at your home.
Get Medical Help
You should get medical attention right after an assault. You might be too shaken up to realize the extent of your injuries, with adrenaline masking your pain. Trauma care specialists in emergency rooms and urgent care centers have training on how to evaluate you for injuries that you might not know about yet.
Your medical records will be essential evidence if you decide to pursue a civil lawsuit against your attacker for compensation. The medical file will establish the severity of your injuries and connect them with the assault.
If you do not get medical attention, the court might assume that you had no injuries. If you delay in getting medical care, the court might wonder whether your injuries happened because of something else, and not the attack.
Get Legal Advice
As soon as you can, call a personal injury lawyer. The legal ramifications of an assault at a shopping mall are complex, and you do not want to try to navigate this situation alone.
Your lawyer can investigate the attack, determine who you should sue, deal directly with insurance companies, negotiate in an attempt to settle your claim, and file suit if necessary.
Do Not Give a Written or Recorded Statement Without Your Lawyer
Once an insurance company (like the shopping mall’s liability insurance carrier) gets involved, they will take steps to evaluate your claim and try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay you. They will likely contact you and request that you give them a written or recorded statement about what happened.
The insurer does not request written or recorded statements to benefit you. The purpose of these statements is to try to twist your words or take them out of context so that they can deny your claim for compensation or pay you less than you deserve.
Do not give the insurance company or their adjuster a written or recorded statement unless your lawyer clears it. Instead, give the company your lawyer’s name and phone number and ask them to contact your lawyer, not you, in the future.
File an Incident Report with the Mall
The shopping mall might have liability for your injuries. A common defense tactic that property owners use is that the injured person did not give proper notice of the incident.
Talk with your lawyer about the best way to give the shopping mall notice of the assault. You should not fill out a form for the mall without the guidance of your lawyer, because the mall might try to twist your words just like the insurance company.
Consider Talking to a Psychologist
Being attacked can be traumatizing. You might have to face psychological issues right after the assault and in the future. Many people find that working with a counselor or psychologist can help them work through the psychological ramifications of being a victim of violent crime.
Who Can Be Liable for an Assault at a Shopping Mall
The attacker can face both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for your injuries. In Georgia, assault is a crime and a tort. A tort is the legal term for a situation in which the law allows you to file a lawsuit for compensation against someone who has negligently or intentionally harmed you.
If the shopping mall was negligent and that carelessness led to the assault, the mall can be responsible for your losses. For example, if the mall had inadequate security and that condition contributed to the crime taking place, you can sue the mall.
How to Get Legal Help for an Assault at a Shopping Mall
We help people who sustain injuries in assaults at shopping malls. Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838, to schedule your free consultation. There is no obligation. We do not charge legal fees until you win compensation.