You may have been enjoying a leisurely day of shopping, running to do a quick errand, or trying to get some holiday shopping done. However you imagined your day, suffering a violent attack in a store, mall, or shopping center was not something that was ever on your agenda. Now you need to know what to do next.
What to Do While You Are Still in the Mall
Your first instinct may be to run and, if you are in danger, then that is exactly what you should do. However, if the attacker has already left or is no longer a threat, then you should take a minute to collect your thoughts and, if possible, take the following actions:
- Stop witnesses. Take down their names and contact information. They may be important later.
- Take pictures. Use your cell phone, if you still have it, to take pictures of the area in which you were hurt. Take specific note of the lighting and security details.
- Call security and the store manager. Ask shopping center security to come to the scene and, if you were hurt in a store, then ask the store manager to come to the scene also.
- Call the police. You need to report the attack.
- Accept help from first responders. This can help protect your physical recovery.
Of course, your physical health trumps everything else in the immediate aftermath of an attack. Do not do anything to jeopardize your safety or your recovery.
What to Do When You Leave the Shopping Center
After you leave the shopping center it is important to…
- Preserve evidence. You may want to keep the clothes that you were wearing, anything the attacker may have dropped at the scene, and any other evidence you have from the time of your attack.
- Make a list of anything that was taken from you. This may include the contents of your wallet, any jewelry, and any other valuables that were stolen.
- Contact any credit card companies and notify credit bureaus if your wallet has been stolen. You may need to worry not only about your credit cards being used without authorization but also about your identity being stolen.
- Get medical help. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis of your injuries so that your injuries can be treated appropriately.
- Talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you identify the party, or parties, who may be defendants in civil claims.
Not all of these steps may apply to your situation. However, it is important to follow through on the steps that do apply and to understand your rights.
You May Have a Negligent Security Claim
Stores are legally responsible for having reasonable security measures in place for shoppers. This may include things such as adequate lighting and properly trained security guards. Additional security may be necessary during busy times, such as before the holidays.
In determining whether negligent security caused your assault and resulting injuries, it is important to consider things such as whether the store:
- Should have reasonably anticipated the crime.
- Let too many customers in at once, which led to an unsafe and crowded environment.
- Had, or should have had, security personnel in place to prevent a fight.
- Responded quickly to the situation once you were attacked.
In other words, you need to know if the store took appropriate safety precautions to keep shoppers safe.
For more information about protecting your rights after a negligent security incident at a store, or any other common location for a negligent security attack, please contact our experienced lawyers today at 1-800-800-5678 for a free consultation.