Sexual Assault In Hotels: The Ultimate Guide To Harassment Lawsuits
If you or a loved one were recently sexually assaulted in a hotel or motel, you are not alone. Researching suggests that as many as one in every five women are victims of nonconsensual sexual acts during her lifetime. Regardless of where the assault takes place, it is essential to know your rights and how to seek justice from the perpetrator. Filing a lawsuit against those involved can help to ensure that no other guests or workers suffer a similar fate — but there are things you must consider when deciding whether (or not) filing such a suit is right for you.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what laws govern hospitality sexual assault lawsuits specifically so that if you choose to move forward with legal action against your assailant, you will be better equipped with knowledge and resources on how best to do so.
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What Is Considered Sexual Assault, Harassment, or Rape?
Sexual assault, harassments, and abuse are sex crimes with often broad definitions. However, each of these crimes involve physical force that is used for sexual gratification against another person's will.
Common Examples of Sex Crimes
Fondling or groping
Forcible sodomy (anal or oral penetration, against a person’s will)
Sexual contact with someone who is drunk or incapacitated
Any sexual contact with a minor
Threats of sexual violence or aggression
Physical aggression like slapping
Acts of manipulation
Can A Victim of Hotel Sexual Assault File A Civil Lawsuit?
Yes, the victims would be the plaintiff and seek monetary relief from the defendants, which is typically the perpetrator of the crime and another responsible party like a hotel owner. A sexual harassment attorney can assess your situation and determine if filing a lawsuit is an option for you. With their help, you may be able to provide evidence of your suffering as well as any related medical expenses or lost wages resulting from the attack in your claim.
The Law Regarding Sexual Assault Claims
Claims related to sexual assault are tort claims and filed by the victim in civil court and require a showing negligence of intentional misconduct. Either of these legal principles is when a hotel owner or hotel management company failed to provide a level of care neccessary to properly manage their property against potential intruders or perpetrators. Hotel owners and lodging properties have a duty to minimize risks by implementing safety measures, also called hotel sexual assault assault prevention. When negligence of intentionally harmful conduct occurs, it becomes evident due to an injury or trauma sustained while on the premises.
What is Hotel Sexual Assault Prevention?
Hotel sexual assault prevention is a proactive measure to ensure that guests of all hotels feel safe while they are away from home. It involves making sure that staff members are well-trained in identifying potential threats, implementing safety protocols and responding quickly and efficiently to any reports.
Sexual assault prevention may also include:
having security personnel on patrol
closed-circuit camera monitoring
installing properly maintained locks on doors and windows
maintaining a guest registry
providing good lighting in public areas
conducting employee background checks
training staff to detect signs of sexual abuse
maintaining proper incident reporting procedures
establishing clear communication channels for guests to report any suspicious incidents
All of these measures help to limit the opportunity for a sexual assault to happen at a hotel which can provide an invaluable sense of peace of mind to travelers. In generally requires a legal investigation into your circumstance to order to determine which of these measures may have contributed in causing or allowing the sexual abuse or assault to occur on the hotel premises. It is important to consult with an attorney that handles cases involves sex crimes to properly preserve evidence and investigate the claim.
How Common Are Sexual Assaults in Hotels?
According to the The National Crime Victimization Survey around 7,800 hotel sexual assaults incidents are reported each year. This equates to an average of almost one sexual assault every hour in the United States.
Hotels are also concentrated centers of criminal activity and create the perfect setting for perpetrators to commit this type of crime without being detected. Without guests or staff stepping up to ensure their safety, they can quickly become victims with hotels providing little to protect against that kind of behavior. Even when vigilance is practiced and systems in place, victims often find themselves feeling too powerless to speak up for themselves. Nevertheless, there are ways for people stay safe in any environment and avoid becoming victims of these traumatic experiences; by being aware of one's surroundings, taking advantage of available security features, reporting suspicious behavior and seeking support from friends and family, people can help reduce their chances of becoming a statistic in this growing problem.
Guest Incidences in Hotels
Hotels and other hospitality establishments are becoming an increasingly unsafe place for people of all genders due to occurrences of sexual assaults on guests. From the receptionist greeting us at the door to maintenance staff wandering the hallways, hotels are often a hub of individuals with varying schedules and complete access to guest rooms without many restrictions. However, the hotel, hospitality company, and ever premises owner or manager company should all work to establish a proper hotel protocol to protect guests.
An attorney that handles sexual assault claims can investigate if the following hotel protocols were being met:
Proper lighting in all areas of the hotel, including parking lots, hallways, and stairwells
Hired security guards to patrol the premises
Response procedures developed with local law enforcement
Employees were trained to detect and report suspicious behavior
Signage was posted with the hotel to that listed how guests can protect themselves
Anti-sexual assault literate was placed in guest rooms
The hotel or motel had existing sexual assault prevention measures
Employees were properly trained on the existing sexual assault prevention measures
Security Install security cameras in all public areas of the hotel
Monitor surveillance footage throughout the day
Conduct regular audits of the hotel’s safety procedures to ensure that they are effective.
Implement a “zero tolerance” policy for any employee who violates the hotel’s sexual assault prevention policies
Preventing guests from being drunk or overly intoxicated on the premises
Hospitality staff should be educated on how to prevent such incidences, as well as how to identify possible abuse victims and support them appropriately. Furthermore, hotels should have protocols in place to protect vulnerable customers from incidents like these and ensure that justice is served for survivors. Guest safety should remain a priority within hospitality industry, ensuring guests can relax, enjoy their stay, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Employees Incidences While At Work
Hotels have a responsibility to ensure a safe environment for their employees, as hotel settings are not immune to instances of sexual harassment and abuse on personnel. When working in the hospitality industry, employees may be at risk of sexual assault, rape, and harassment by guests, coworkers or supervisors. The facility is required provide proper safeguards measures so employees are adequately protected from any form of unwanted advances while onsite in order to prevent any cases of sexual assault from manifesting on the property.
Situations that can result in employees becoming victims of abuse harassments may include:
Overserving intoxicated guests
Not training staff on how to respond to inappropriate behaviors
Allowing hotel guests to make advances on staff
Failing to hire hotel security
Failing to perform criminal records checks on new hires
Failing to conduct social security searches and reference check
Allowing employers or supervisors to make advances of staff
Failing to implement rules regarding employees entering rooms with guests
Not installing panic buttons to maids and employees that enter rooms
Creating a culture that tolerates sexual abuse
Allowing staff to hug peers or hotel guests
Not implementing proper supervisions standards
Not creating procedures
The Effects of Sex Crimes on Victims
Sexual assault and rape offences can have a profound impact on victims, leaving them emotionally traumatized and feeling helpless or unvalued. In addition to the emotional toll that sexual assault can take on individuals, there is an economic cost associated with these kinds of crimes – not only do they affect the victim’s ability to work and earn an income but they also often involve costly legal proceedings related to filing a report, pursuing charges against the perpetrator(s), and seeking restitution for physical injuries.
Emotional and Psychological Effects
The physical and emotional trauma suffered by victims of rape or other sexual assault, particularly in cases involving children, has long-term effects on the person beyond the initial aftermath. A multitude of psychological responses can result from such a traumatic experience, including self-blame, depression, flashbacks, numbness, difficulty trusting oneself or others, guilt and more. Research shows there is a greater risk for victims to develop suicidality and disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) due to their traumatic experiences. Social anxiety, loneliness and altered sense of self are further effects caused by sexual assault that often require intensive therapy in order to effectively recover from their pain. It is crucial to raise awareness of both types of trauma associated with rape & other sexual assault – physical and emotional – while creating safety nets to protect victims as much as possible.
Victims often experience painful injuries related to the trauma inflicted during a sexual assault, including bruises, lacerations, sprains, fractures, internal organ damage, or even life-threatening conditions such as shock or coma. Other physical effects can include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancies, chronic pain and discomfort in the area of the attack and other areas of the body (due to increased muscle tension) as well as an increased risk for musculoskeletal problems.
Sexual assault has devastating economic effects on the micro level, such as survivors needing time off from work, or even facing unemployment due to the mental and physical trauma that is caused by sexual assault. To make matters worse, victims of rape by an intimate partner may lose up to $69 per day because of unpaid time off from work. Moreover, the potential negative implications associated with sexual assault extend far beyond this; they include diminished work performance and job loss, both of which can lead to lower earnings for survivors. The consequences of sexual assault could be somewhat ameliorated by investing in adequately testing backlogged sexual assault kits. By doing so, authorities can effectively reduce costs and create safer environments for our communities.
What Forms Of Compensation Are Available In Sexual Assault Lawsuits?
A claim against all responsible defendants can provide maximum compensation for your damages, which may include:
Compensatory damages in a sexual assault lawsuit can be awarded to the victim as a form of reimbursement for expenses associated with the attack. This can include monetary amount paid for medical treatment, surgical costs, bills, aid devises, counseling, therapy, and legal fees.
Acting as a form of punishment and deterrence, punitive damages can provide potential financial recompense above and beyond compensatory damages; the assaulter or their employer must pay this money as further punishment for the wrong-doing.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is designed to bring justice for victims and help them cope with the immense emotional trauma suffered in such a traumatic experience. In many situations it is critical for an attorney to highlight the extent of monetary sum the assailant or company should pay, because this category of relief impacts how the other categories are viewed by jurors.
In a sexual assault lawsuit, mental anguish awards are meant to help victims cope with their experience by recognizing the significant physical and psychological impact inflicted by sexual assault.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium cover a wide range of intangible losses that cannot be monetarily evaluated, including the non-economic impact on the life of the sexual assault victims loved ones caused by their injuries, such as extreme emotional distress and feelings of loneliness. The amount of money varies depending on different factors, including but not limited to the type and severity of the injury, duration and prognosis concerning the victims recovery (or lack thereof) and the particular relationship between claimant and victim.
Wrongful death damages may be awarded to the family members of victims of hotel sexual assault who have died as a result of the attack.
Property damage may be awarded to victims of hotel sexual assault who have had personal property damaged or destroyed as a result of the attack, such as clothing, a cellular phone, luggage, or any additional personal belongings.
Medical expense may be awarded to victims of hotel sexual assault who have incurred medical expenses as a result of the attack.
Lost wages may be awarded to victims of hotel sexual assault who have missed work or lost income as a result of the attack.
To successfully bring a case against these defendants, an individual needs to especially be aware of their state’s statute of limitations. An attorney will likely be the best source of information in regards formulating the strongest case possible utilizing available evidence concerning the defendant.
In a hotel sexual assault lawsuit, safety standards and protocols must be met in order to provide safety for guests. Hiring a hospitality security expert is an important part of making sure any safety failings are exposed and investigated, as the expert can offer insight into the practices that the hotel should have followed and likewise can provide proof as to whether or not those safety standards were being maintained.
Will Police Pull The Video From The Hotel?
To facilitate their investigations, police generally pull the video footage from all cameras that may have captured any evidence related to the attack. This process is aimed at helping officers identify and question potential witnesses or suspects identified in the videos. In cases where no footage of the incident is available, investigators work with hotel managements to access reservation records and other records as required by law enforcement entities. Getting detailed information from these materials helps them further analyze suspicious activities associated with the crime.
How Can I Tell If A Hotel Is Secure?
Staying in a secure hotel can make all the difference when it comes to preventing sex crimes. To ensure that you are staying at a secure hotel, research reviews online and look out for safety criteria. Some hotels and motels are hot beds for crime, leading to incidents of robbery, assaults and murder. Being aware and taking the necessary precautions can help ensure safe travels and peace of mind when using a hotel service.
Common indicators that a hotel is no secure for guests and visitors includes:
Not having visible cameras
Dim or insufficient lighting in parking lots or hallways
Insufficient security patrol
Inattentive security guards
Broken electronic locks
Unrepaired doors or gates
Transients gathering in the halls or common areas
No motion sensors
Signs of prostitution at the hotel
Inattentive front desks clerks
Front desk clerks being unavailable to validate guests
Employees failing to confirm guest identification
Additionally, be aware of your surroundings and any suspicious behavior that you may encounter during your stay - if something doesn't feel right, call hotel security or your local law enforcement.
How Do I Prevent Being Victim of A Sexual Assault Within A Hotel?
Taking safety measures to prevent sexual assault in a hotel is essential when it comes to protecting yourself. One of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim of sexual assault while staying within a hotel is being aware of your surroundings at all times. Be sure to always lock your door and never invite any strangers or new acquaintances into your room. If you're traveling alone, let someone know where you're going and constantly check in with them about your location throughout your stay. Additionally, try to choose a hotel that has good security precautions such as security guards present on site, key cards with the doors, etc. In the case that someone unwelcome is entering your room, have an exit strategy ready just in case you need to escape the situation quickly. Taking these preventative measures can provide assurance and peace of mind while you stay in a hotel away from home.
What Do I Need To Do If I Was Assaulted In A Hotel?
If you were sexually assaulted in a hotel, it is important to remember that the first thing to do is to get somewhere safe. Once you are in a safe place, the next step is to contact the police and report the incident, even if you do not want to take further action at that time. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) is available 24 hours a day for any questions and can provide resources and referrals to local organizations that can help you with dealing with information about your rights following a sexual assault incident. Furthermore, it's important to receive medical attention as soon as possible. Even if no physical injuries were sustained, seeing a doctor can be beneficial for gathering evidence related to legal action and also receiving treatment for trauma.
What Questions Should I Ask Front Desk Staff To Ensure My Safety?
One of the most valuable sources of information is the front desk staff at your accommodation. Make sure to ask questions that will give you a clear picture of the security measures in place and the area surrounding your hotel. Ask about surveillance cameras in public areas, emergency contact numbers and any extra security features offered like a key card access system. It's also very important to enquire about what the local customs and laws are, so you can act appropriately within your environment. Getting a good sense of the city or town from the front desk staff can help you recognize areas or situations that might pose a potential hazard, increasing your overall safety throughout your stay.
A Hotel Sexual Abuse Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one was sexually assaulted while staying at a hotel establishment, call 866-434-0014 for a free consultation with sexual assault attorney Brit Mitchell. You can also fill out this quick contact form and a member of our legal team will contact you immediately.