On February 5, 2008, a Fort Mill resident stopped at John Boy’s Valero on Spratt Street. When he saw another customer behind him, he stopped to hold the door for him. That customer was actually a robber. He pulled a gun, held it to the Fort Mill man’s face, and pulled the trigger.
Fortunately, the victim survived. Unfortunately, the robber escaped from the scene of the crime and continued to terrorize our community. Over a period of two months, he committed seven robberies and four shootings throughout Rock Hill and Fort Mill. Ultimately, he was arrested and convicted of armed robbery, and is now serving seven life sentences.
While many of the robber’s victims offered important testimony in his criminal case, one filed a civil suit as well. Criminal cases are a vital part of the justice system, as they allow the State to determine whether or not a defendant is guilty of a crime and measure out the appropriate punishment. However, they cannot help the defendant’s victims receive payment for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages they may have suffered as a result of the crime. To do that, victims must file a civil suit as well.
In South Carolina, hotels, motels, and other businesses are required to take steps to keep their guests safe. These safety measures can include things like installing extra lighting or fences, putting in security cameras, or hiring security guards. This is exactly what the victim claimed in her suit: that the business where she was shot should have taken more steps to keep her and the other customers safe.
What exactly a business is required to do varies from place to place. The more likely a crime is to occur in that area, the stronger the security measures must be. The crime rate of the surrounding area is a very important factor in determining how likely a crime is to occur. A hotel in a very safe part of town may only need to make sure their grounds are well-lit, while a hotel in a high-crime area may need to hire a security guard and install cameras. In her suit, the shooting victim claimed that the business knew an armed robber was on the loose, and should have hired a security guard to protect its customers. The suit is still pending, but the South Carolina Supreme Court has allowed it to go forward.
If you are hurt at a business that did not have proper security measures, you are able to sue that business. They may be required to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. If you were the victim of an assault or violent crime at an unsafe location, call a lawyer right away to discuss your options. Even if it was not one of the individuals employed by that business who injured you, you still might have a claim. Take steps today to make sure that you and your family are protected.
Contact us today with any questions. We are here to help.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.