Damages caused by a violent crime are the responsibility of the criminal. His assets subject to execution may be lost to the injured party. However, most people have no such assets. Also, most insurance policies do not cover these damages if the insured under the policy was committing a crime. The policy excludes intentional acts and criminal acts. If an insured was negligent in allowing the crime to occur, the negligent person may be held responsible for the damages and covered by the general liability policy. The homeowner’s policy may also cover such damages if not excluded under the policy.
When the criminal that caused the violence, death, or injury was an employee, the damages he caused could become the liability of his employer. This would be when the employer failed to conduct adequate background checks and employed a dangerous individual with a criminal history of violence. The employer would then be subjecting his other employees and possibly customers to danger and would be liable for the damages caused by the dangerous individual. This would be true when the employee assaults a co-worker, kills a co-worker, rapes a co-worker, etc.
If a bar, restaurant, store or anywhere licensed to sell alcohol serves or sells alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated and a danger to himself or others, then the Dram Shop is liable for crimes committed by that person due to intoxication. The drunk does not have to actually consume the alcohol that is sold or served to him. If the intoxicated person drives a car and hurts someone, the bar can be responsible for its negligence. If the drunk physically assaults someone while intoxicated, whether in the bar or after he leaves, the Dram Shop can be responsible. If the assault happens in the bar or restaurant, there may not be a liquor liability insurance policy. If there is such a policy, there may be a low limit of coverage in case the injury is caused by stabbing and a different low limit of coverage if the injury is by firearm.
Rocky and his staff were always great about taking my calls and answering all my questions. Viginia P.
Even when an employee has no criminal history but has shown a pattern of violent behavior while employed, the employer is on notice that the employee may be violent to customers, co-workers, and others. If that is the case, the employer can be responsible for all the damages under a typical general liability policy, because of the employer’s negligence.
If the criminal is wealthy, the claimant does not have to prove that anyone was negligent. He can simply go against the criminal for intentional acts. In that case, he would also be liable for punitive/exemplary damages. The injured party would not have to collect from an insurance company. The Plaintiff would execute on the assets of the criminal.
When a civil suit for damages is leveled against the criminal or someone who was negligent, the plaintiff does not have to prove his case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the way it does in criminal court. In civil court, the burden of proof is only a “preponderance of evidence,” which is a majority of the evidence. A majority would be at least 51% of the evidence. Therefore, it is much easier to prove a person committed a crime in civil court than in criminal court.
If you have been catastrophically injured by the criminal or negligent acts of another, please contact the Law Firm of Roger “Rocky” Walton, P. C. for a free review of your case. If we accept your case, you are not responsible for any of our attorney’s fees or expenses unless we make a recovery for you. Call 817-429-4299 today.