School Violence

The recent horrific incident in which a young middle school boy was attacked and set on fire by five classmates brings to the fore the very real and prevalent problem of school violence and bullying. Who is responsible for the safety of your child in school if he or she is the victim of violence while attending school?

The answer is not always simple. As a general rule, school authorities stand in the place of parents during school hours and, as such, are responsible for the safety and well being of your children while under the school’s control, both on and off the grounds of the school (such as on a school trip).

An attorney, in determining whether a lawsuit against school authorities is viable, will have several questions: where did the incident take place; has there been any prior incident between this victim and the perpetrators, of which the authorities were aware; how common are incidents of this sort in this school; does the school have regular security protection such as guards or monitors, and were these security personnel at their posts at the time of the incident, etc.

It is very unlikely that the facts of any two cases are exactly alike. The difference between a viable case, or a matter that will not yield a basis for litigation, can be the ability of the attorney considering all the surrounding circumstances and simply knowing the correct questions to ask!

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Rapes & Assaults in NYC Apartment Buildings

Accidents are never a pleasant experience, but little can be as frightening or leave as indelible a traumatic scar as having faced an assault, or even worse, a rape, especially where you live.

If this should occur on the street or in your private home, there may be little recourse for you in any attempt to recover financial compensation. Unless there are truly extraordinary circumstances (for which an experienced personal injury attorney should be consulted) the likelihood of recovering money compensation is slight, if it exists at all.

In the event the attack occurred in an apartment building where you reside, then there may well be grounds for you to seek monetary compensation for many of the consequences that flow from the attack. If the landlord of the building allowed conditions to exist which made the act of the criminal more likely to occur, then the landlord may be held accountable.

The most common failure on the part of the landlord involves building security. It can involve something as simple a broken door lock, or perhaps an inoperable intercom system. Perhaps the front doors of the building operate perfectly, but a rear door or the door to the roof are left open. Any item that increases the ability of a criminal to enter the building, and thereby perpetrate the violent act, can very possibly subject the landlord to a lawsuit.

With this in mind, it would not be the landlord’s responsibility if another tenant, or any other person with legitimate access to the building, were the person who committed the crime. It would also be necessary to show that any deficiency in building security was known to the landlord, or existed for such a long period of time that the landlord should have known of the deficiency.

The issue of whether a landlord is or is not responsible is of overriding importance and must be discussed with an experienced attorney to be certain the victim in such a terrible crime receives any and all appropriate compensation . Do NOT leave it to guess work!