Assaulted in a Parking Garage...
We live in Pennsylvania. A friend of mine (male) went to West Virginia over the weekend and was lured into a parking garage by a female and then jumped by a gang of men. It was a violent assault in which they robbed him, beat him up, then tossed him out of the garage onto the ground below, a 50 foot drop.
A police officer saw him being thrown out and ran to his aid, and found a girl fleeing from the scene. They held her for questioning but have since let her go. My friend suffered a broken back in 2 places, a broken neck, chipped teeth, swollen face, etc. They had to do emergency surgery to save his life. We are fortunate he even survived. He will be lucky to walk again.
What action can we take to pursue this matter? Can he claim damages for his personal injuries against the people involved or the parking garage?
The police have a few leads, but it doesn't look like they are doing much. Except the officer who saved him, we don't see any motivation to catch the culprits. They didn't just brutally assault him, they tried to kill him and didn't succeed. This seems like a serious crime to me.
Why do I not see any sense of urgency on the part of the police? Is this a state prosecutor case or a personal injury case? It's difficult for us to sit in the police station and act like a squeaky wheel since it happened a state away.
Any suggestions as to where to go from here would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Assaulted in a Parking Garage...":
Anonymous (West Virginia):
Your friend suffered a terribly horrid experience. You are fortunate he will recover.
These are your options:
Depending upon the type and size of the parking garage it may be managed by one company and owned by another. At any rate there will at least be an owner.
You can pursue a legal claim against the management and owners of the garage. To do so you will need some type of evidence to prove they were negligent.
Parking garages, whether they allow public parking or are exclusive for private and reserved parking, have what is called a "Duty of Reasonable Care" to those they "invite" to park in their garage. That protection extends to any other persons, whether within vehicles or not, who are permitted, whether overtly or impliedly, to enter the garage.
The duty of reasonable care is not something which is measurable. That means you can't go to a law book or other reference to see exactly what a duty of reasonable care consists of. Instead, that duty has been defined over the years by what is called the "common law". Common law is a compilation, primarily of court cases, in which persons like your friend were severely and brutally beaten in parking garages.
In those cases evidence was put forth by the plaintiffs - "invitees" (the injured parties) showing the parking garages were not lighted properly, or monitored regularly, or that they were in other ways rendered unsafe as a result of the management and owner's negligence in not providing proper lighting, security, and the like.
Once the jury listened to all the evidence they had to decide whether the management and owners "breached" their duty to protect the injured parties from their assaults.
In those cases, if the jury heard enough evidence to be convinced the management and owners could and should have done more to protect their injured "invitees", then they came in with a verdict stating the management and owners were negligent in not providing "reasonable care". As a result they breached their duty of care. With that said the juries awarded the invitees an amount of money they believed was appropriate.
You will probably be wasting time pursuing the criminals. Instead focus on the garage management and owners. They may be the ones liable for your friend's injuries. You need a personal injury attorney to pursue this case, you can't do it alone. Most won't charge any fee for an initial office consultation.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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