In the United States, the hotel industry makes billions of dollars every year by providing travelers with a place to stay. That being said, almost everyone has stayed at a hotel at least once where the service, cleanliness, or safety of the hotel was sub-par. While many people are able to simply shrug it off and move on, vowing never to return, others suffer the consequences and are left with physical pain and horrific memories, including a woman who chose to file a lawsuit against a hotel after she was raped.
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In 2014, the plaintiff and her boyfriend were traveling and chose to stay at a Holiday Inn Express. At some point during their trip, she was spotted by a man and without their knowledge, he began to track her. He identified the room she was staying in and in the evening when her boyfriend was out, he approached the front desk, claiming to be her boyfriend.
The attendant behind the desk didn’t request that he show any sort of identification and just handed over a key to the room.
He used that key to enter the room and raped the woman inside. He was caught on a security camera leaving the room with his pants around his ankles. Since he was staying in the same hotel, police quickly identified him and arrested him. But by then it was too late for his victim.
Although the police pressed charges against her assailant and he was sentenced to three years in prison, this did nothing to obtain monetary compensation for the plaintiff.
She chose to pursue legal action against her rapist and she also sued the hotel, claiming that they had been negligent for failing to ask for the man’s ID and simply handing over the key to her room.
In an attempt to offer a defense, the legal team for the plaintiff argued that there was no way of knowing that a rape would occur and so they shouldn’t be held responsible.
The case went to trial and a jury determined that the hotel was 60% at fault and that the convicted rapist was 40% at fault. After the trial, the parties agreed to a $2 million settlement.
Each year, anywhere between 60% and 80% of all rapes go unreported, making it the most underreported crime. There are many reasons for this, including:
Victims do have the option of remaining anonymous. Then, throughout the lawsuit, they will simply be referred to as “Doe”.
This is the question that Banville Law’s legal team is asked the most and it is also the most difficult to answer because the answer is unknown. Until a case is reviewed, a lawyer is unable to give an estimate and even then, the final amounts obtained vary widely from case to case.
There are many factors that can impact how long a case will take, but the reality is that it will take several months at a minimum and some will go on for more than a year. But these time periods shouldn’t deter a victim from contacting us for their free consultation.
The majority of this time is spent during the discovery phase. This is when our law firm dives into our client’s case, looking to obtain evidence and researching the law. We leave no stone unturned. Then, if a settlement can’t be negotiated, the case must wait until the court schedules a date.
Again, this is a difficult question to answer. Every case is different just like every client is unique and ultimately, they must decide what is best. There are benefits to accepting a settlement - the amount obtained in known and typically received within 30 days, not to mention the fact that the settlement isn’t bound to a court date. But not all offers are worthwhile and sometimes, no offer is made.
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