Visitor Question

Knocked down escalator at mall by fleeing thieves…

Submitted By: Veronna (Ft Washington, MD)

Dec 27, 2015 I was knocked down an escalator at a mall in Waldorf, MD by two teenagers who had stolen money from a patron at an ATM located right at the top of the escalator. The teens snatched the money from the patron as he withdrew it, and then forced their way down the full escalator, knocking people over and down on the steps. There was no security guard located near the ATM.

Mall security, and county sheriffs took reports, ambulance was called and I was transported to the nearby medical center, x-rayed and put in a leg brace for a sprained knee. I was sent home on crutches with pain medicine prescriptions.

When I requested copies of the reports, I was informed that I could not have them because the defendants were juveniles. I feel like the mall should have had security by the ATM during shopping hours for patron safety. Do I have a case against the mall for my medical bills? Who is liable here? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Veronna,

You have a very tentative claim against the mall owners and/or mall management company. To succeed in a personal injury claim will require proof of owner or management negligence.

In that regard, unless you can prove the mall owners or management company knew these thugs were attacking customers and failed to take protective action, you do not have the basis of a viable injury claim.

You don’t have a legal right to review the mall’s video, audiotapes, or incident report of the robbery and subsequent actions of the the thugs as they knocked people down the escalator.

Company incident reports are normally proprietary. If the mall owners or management company refuses to make them available, the only way you can get access to them is via a subpoena duces tecum. A subpoena duces tecum is a form of court order compelling the party served to make available those documents requested in the subpoena.

In almost all cases, a subpoena duces tecum can only be issued after a lawsuit has been filed. As a result, unless you retain an attorney to file a lawsuit, you will not have access to the incident report. Because of the underlying facts, it will be difficult to find an attorney to agree to represent you.

You can ask the mall owners or management company to pay for your medical bills. It’s likely they have liability insurance to cover injuries sustained by customers as a result of the company or its employees’ negligence.

While negligence is normally a basis for compensation for injuries and resulting damages, there is always a chance the mall owners or management company will volunteer to pay for your damages. Damages can include medical and therapy bills, out of pocket costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 17, 2016

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