When you reserve a hotel room and check in for your stay, you have certain basic expectations –that the property will be well-maintained, that your room and the common areas will be clean, and that the service from the hotel employees will be polite and professional. You also expect that you will be safe throughout your stay.
Hotels are responsible for maintaining a safe property and providing adequate security.
Unfortunately, they don’t always do this. Often hotel guests find themselves in danger. Victims of sexual assault at a hotel may be unable to escape their attackers. When the hotel fails to maintain the complex’s security features against intruders or doesn’t enforce its security procedures, it can be held accountable for negligent security.
It’s quite likely that being sexually assaulted or raped while in your hotel is not something that you even considered possible. Yet, instances of hotel violence are not unique.
While underreporting of sexual crimes makes exact figures notoriously difficult to calculate, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) estimates that as many as one in three women and one in six men in the U.S. end up on the receiving end of sexual violence at some point in their lives. Sexual violence is one of the most damaging ordeals a person can suffer, and unlike most comparable traumas, it’s also one of the most disturbingly common.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape and the attack occurred at a hotel, the advice and counsel of a sexual assault lawyer can be incredibly valuable. This professional can help you pursue justice and obtain the financial settlement you deserve. Contact the team at The Stoddard Firm at 470-467-2200 to schedule a consultation today.
Why Choose the Stoddard Firm’s Atlanta Sexual Assault Lawyer
Our Experience and Approach Make a Difference
If you are a victim of sexual assault that occurred in a hotel, our Atlanta sexual assault attorney can help you pursue justice. While the individual who assaulted you bears the majority of the fault, of course, hotels are responsible for providing a certain level of security. When they don’t and guests are injured, they can and should be held accountable.
Having a seasoned sexual assault lawyer in Atlanta on your side can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. You want to engage professionals whose approach fulfills your needs and who have the knowledge and experience to achieve a positive outcome. We are that firm. The combination of our approach to service and our experience and knowledge makes us the best choice to help you as you move forward.
- Compassionate Service Approach: You have survived the unspeakable — and the fact that you have the strength to move forward and hold all those who contributed to the attack responsible speaks volumes. That said, you are also likely incredibly vulnerable and emotional. Our sexual assault attorneys have years of experience representing clients just like you.
We are known for the compassionate way we communicate. When you work with us, we let you guide all conversations; we ask questions calmly and sympathetically and always move forward at a pace with which you are comfortable. At this point in time, your life is incredibly difficult; we do not want to compound your hurt. It is important that you understand that while we communicate compassionately with you, we will pursue justice on your behalf aggressively. When hotels do not secure their properties appropriately, and individuals are hurt as a result, they should be held accountable.
- Experienced and Knowledgeable Team: Working with professionals who understand Georgia law is a priority. The laws governing sexual assault in a hotel and the associated legal process can be complex; you want counsel who has successfully handled cases like this before. Our sexual assault attorney, Matthew Stoddard, has over 25 years of professional experience. Earlier in his career, he worked defending corporations, so he understands the law from the side of the organization as well as the individual. This unique perspective has contributed to his significant success.
When we work with you, we dedicate ourselves to proving the hotel’s negligence and maximizing a settlement on your behalf. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.
How We Can Help You
We Manage Everything So You Don’t Have To
Perhaps nothing is as devastating as a sexual assault. It’s your worst nightmare. The resulting injuries, both physical and emotional, can impact you for the rest of your life. It is not surprising that you may be completely overwhelmed and not sure how to proceed.
Our Atlanta sexual assault attorney can help you move forward in pursuit of justice.
We manage all of the legal processes so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. When you engage us, we handle everything on your behalf including:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your sexual assault
- Reviewing all hotel security, including door locks and visitor identification
- Confirming that all hotel employees are qualified for the positions they hold
- Drafting legal documents on your behalf and submitting them in accordance with Georgia law and the statute of limitations
- Calculating your total damages
- Communicating with hotel attorneys and insurance companies on your behalf
- Negotiating settlements and representing you in court.
Our demeanor serves as a calming force through the legal process. You can rely on us to provide you with the highest quality legal service in the most sympathetic way. You don’t deserve to be in this position; we will work to positively impact your future.
Reach out to us today and learn just how powerfully we can support you. Our team is ready to go to work for you immediately. Schedule a consultation by calling us at 470-467-2200.
Sexual Violence in Hotels Is Not an Anomaly
Rape and Sexual Assault Impact Female Guests in Atlanta Hotels
As the number of women travelers has grown, so has violence against them in the hotels in which they stay; rape and assault are not uncommon. In fact, sex trafficking in some Georgia hotels has been a significant problem.
While the terms rape and sexual assault are often used interchangeably and both of them involve sexual contact without the competent, informed consent of all participants, the difference is that rape involves sexual intercourse, while sexual assault only requires sexual contact. Sexual contact can include things like kissing or touching intimate areas, without necessarily involving penetration.
In other words, all rapes are sexual assaults, but not all sexual assaults are rapes. Many forms of sexual violation, such as unwelcome slapping or groping, are not rape but are still sexual assault.
The legal distinction can vary significantly, depending on where you are and where the crime occurred. The definition of rape under Georgia law is quite narrow, for example, including only male-on-female rape committed by force, or when the female is under ten years old. However, Georgia’s legal definition of sexual assault is much broader, including many forms of unwelcome touching and sexual contact in situations with a power imbalance, such as a teacher/student relationship.
Legal and semantic distinctions aside, it’s important to remember that all sexual contact without consent is sexual violence, and no sexual violence is ever okay. Valid consent can only be given actively, without coercion or deception, and by a person capable of understanding and evaluating the situation. A lack of objection does not qualify as consent, especially if it’s due to the victim’s being threatened or incapacitated. Consent cannot be inferred from a person’s clothes, conduct, past or present relationships, or anything else other than verbal agreement/active participation.
Hotels Are Responsible for Providing Appropriate Security
In Georgia, hotels are required by law to protect their guests against criminal behavior, both from their employees and from unrelated third parties. When crimes have occurred on their premises in the past, they must take action and prevent them from happening again. If you are the victim of rape or sexual assault at a hotel and can show a history of other similar incidents (even just one) and can also prove that the fact that the hotel didn’t do anything to protect you and as such you were injured, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
It is important to realize that not only are hotel operators responsible for actions inside the hotel itself, but also for their parking lots and other outdoor areas.
Unfortunately, not every hotel does what it should. Examples of securing a property include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ensuring there is adequate lighting throughout the property. Stairwells, hallways, outdoor areas, and parking facilities all must be well-lit.
- Engaging the appropriate number of hotel staff members and security professionals and providing them with training on how to prevent and react to issues that could occur.
- Leveraging the use of security cameras and maintaining recordings in case of an incident.
- Identifying visitors and ensuring they are expected before directing them to guest rooms.
In all hotels, security guards at doors are helpful, and certain in-room enhancements like deadbolts, one-way 180-degree peepholes, and keyless entry (with magnetic cards) can help keep guests safer.
Quite often, hotels fail to report security issues and attacks to law enforcement, as they are concerned about maintaining the hotel’s reputation. All security breaches should be reported so that problems can be both identified and addressed.
The Aftermath of an Attack
The Steps You Should Take
If you have been raped or assaulted in a hotel, your first course of action should be to take care of yourself. Contact the police and obtain medical attention. By reporting the crime immediately, you can more accurately document what happened and evidence can be preserved.
If you believe that negligent security on the part of the hotel contributed to your experience, you should reach out to an Atlanta sexual assault lawyer with experience in hotel attacks. This professional can review what happened and help you move forward with the legal process.
Finally, you should take advantage of all outside assistance to help you manage your recovery. Surviving sexual violence is challenging. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult psychological traumas from which to recover. Survivors commonly struggle with PTSD, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, difficulty establishing healthy relationships, and self-destructive impulses up to and including suicide.
In addition to the psychological effects, sexual assault survivors are at risk for a variety of physical consequences, including:
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Gynecological complications
- HIV and other STIs
- Cervical cancer
- Genital injuries.
The costs of sexual assault and rape are considerable. Most of the after-effects of sexual violence, both physical and psychological, can remain with the survivor indefinitely, requiring ongoing treatment and severely impacting the quality of life.
Contact an Atlanta Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
The Stoddard Firm Can Help in Your Pursuit of Justice
As a survivor of sexual violence, you may find yourself facing social stigmas and attempts to discredit, shame, or blame you for what happened. The obstacles to being understood and acknowledged can be significant.
Remember, what happened was not your fault, and you don’t have to face it alone. The legal experts at the Stoddard Firm respect what you’re going through and have the passion and experience to win you the compensation you deserve.
Reach out to us online or at 470-467-2200 for a free consultation on how we can help you take back control of your life. When you work with us, we leverage the experience and knowledge of our entire firm on your behalf. We assume your goals as our own and put all of our efforts into helping you.