Security is one of the main concerns when choosing an apartment complex to call home. Most of us place a great deal of trust in apartment management to provide a secure environment. But what happens when that trust is betrayed? If you have been the victim of a crime or suffered injuries within an apartment complex, you might be wondering whether you can hold the management responsible for negligent security. Let’s dive into the topic.
What Is Negligent Security?
Negligent security refers to the failure of a property owner or manager to provide reasonable security measures to protect residents and guests from foreseeable harm or criminal activities. In the context of an apartment complex, this can involve inadequate lighting, faulty door locks, lack of security cameras, or the absence of security personnel.
When Does Negligence Apply?
The concept of negligence typically implies a “duty of care” on the part of the property owner or manager. To establish negligence, the following elements generally need to be present:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty to maintain reasonable security measures.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to uphold that duty.
- Causation: The breach of duty directly resulted in your injury or loss.
- Damages: You suffered actual damages as a result (such as medical expenses, lost wages, or emotional distress).
Foreseeability: A Key Component
One of the critical factors in determining negligence is foreseeability. Was the criminal act foreseeable and, therefore, preventable? If an apartment complex is located in a high-crime area and yet lacks basic security measures, the likelihood of proving that the crime was foreseeable increases. Prior incidents of crime in the area or within the complex itself can also bolster the case for foreseeability.
Courts have found apartment complexes liable for negligent security in various instances. In one case, a resident was attacked in a parking lot that had been the site of numerous prior assaults. The court determined that the complex had failed to provide adequate lighting and security patrols, thereby neglecting its duty of care to residents.
In another case, a tenant was assaulted due to a faulty lock on a communal entrance. The court found that the complex was aware of the defect but had failed to rectify it, resulting in the breach of its duty of care.
Steps to Take If You’re a Victim
If you believe you have been a victim of negligent security in an apartment complex, consider the following steps:
- Consult a Lawyer: Contact an attorney who specializes in premises liability or personal injury law.
- Document Everything: Take photographs, collect witness statements, and maintain a record of correspondence with the management.
- Medical Records: Keep detailed records of any medical treatments related to the incident.
- File a Report: Notify local law enforcement and file a formal report.
It is possible to sue an apartment complex for negligent security, but each case is highly fact-specific. A successful lawsuit typically involves demonstrating that the complex had a duty of care, failed in that duty, and that this failure resulted in foreseeable harm.
Need Legal Assistance?
If you or someone you know has been a victim of negligent security by an an apartment complex in Texas, we at El Mazi Law are here to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. Send us a message from the form below to get started: