CanI sue someone for not keeping my child safe while in their home while a guest?

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CanI sue someone for not keeping my child safe while in their home while a guest?

My 14 year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by her friend’s older sister’s boyfriend (20 years old). He forced himself on my daughter in her sleep. I would go into detail; it is too hard. He is in jail now, but I want to know if I have a case against the older sister since it happened in her house?

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is worth discussin with an attorney, who can evalute the situation in detail (and if you talk to an attorney, hold nothing back, no matter how painful), but there is good chance you cannot sue the older sister unless she herself was involved in some fashion (e.g. prevented your daughter from calling for help; drugged her; held her down; etc.). The older sister of  a friend very likely does not have a duty to protect your daughter from attack; without an obligation to act, there would be no liability. (As a general matter, one person does not have a duty to protect another.) You could sue the boyfriend himself for the assault, since he was the attacker; even if he doesn't have assets now, you could get a judgment against him you could try to act on later.


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