In this post we answer a question that comes up now and again in the area of premises liability for a business. If you are attacked by a criminal while shopping at a business in Oklahoma, can you sue the business for your injuries caused by the criminal? The answer is sort of complicated. However, in this blog post, I will break in down.
In Oklahoma, Businesses must Protect Customers from Foreseeable Danger
As previously explained on this blog, business has a duty to protect customers from known dangers on the premises. But how can a business owner predict when a criminal might attack a customer?
Although there is legal precedent in Oklahoma for these types of cases, courts are generally reluctant to hold the businesses liable unless they clearly should have been aware of the danger.
Two Cases that held businesses liable for criminal acts against patrons or customers
In one case before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, an African American man was attacked and seriously injured by a group of white supremacists at a McDonalds restaurant. The Court ruled that McDonald’s was liable because its employees were aware of the men causing trouble and other customers had complained. Taylor v. Hynson, 1993 OK 93, 856 P.2d 278.
In another case, the Court found a Tulsa hospital liable when a nurse was kidnapped from the parking garage and subsequently raped. In Bray v. St. John Health System, 2008 OK 51, 187 P.3d 721, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that business owners have a duty to implement reasonable measures to protect their patrons from criminal acts when those acts are foreseeable. Because of prior incidents in the Hospital’s parking garage, the Court deemed the Hospital should have taken better security measures in securing the parking garage where the nurse was kidnapped. The Court held the Hospital could be liable under Oklahoma Law and allowed the case to proceed to trial.
What both of these cases have in common is that the business had notice of a possibly dangerous situation, and could have intervened to prevent anything further from happening. Instead, the employees at these businesses did nothing, letting the dangerous persons remain about which eventually led to some really violent and harmful acts.
Free Consultation with Successful Oklahoma Premises Liability Attorney
If you have been a victim of a crime or violent act as a customer at a business, the business may be liable if the type of danger was foreseeable and they could have prevented it by taking reasonable precautions. I would love to hear your story and analyze your case. I have succeeded in getting my clients compensated in these types of cases. If you call on me, I will do my best to obtain money and justice for you too! Call us at (405) 724-8112.