You may be able to sue an apartment complex for negligent security if you were the victim of a crime in or around an apartment building. However, you must be able to prove the crime resulted from a lack of adequate security.
When Is an Apartment Complex Liable for a Crime?
Owners of apartment complexes owe their tenants (and visitors) a duty of care that includes taking reasonable measures to protect tenants from harm that third parties cause. If an apartment complex did not take reasonable measures to ensure your safety and you were the victim of an assault, the complex may be liable.
What “reasonable” means is a fact-intensive question, the answer to which insurance adjusters and courts determine on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the factors in determining what is “reasonable” are:
- Whether the crime was foreseeable given the inadequacy or lack of security measures
- Whether there was a history or pattern of known criminal activity in or around the apartment complex
- Whether the owner or property manager had ever implemented or upgraded existing security in response to other incidents in or around the apartment complex
- Whether the owner or property manager delayed or cancelled a planned security implementation or upgrade to save money
- The owner’s or property manager’s previous efforts to actively assess the potential for harmful criminal acts
- The financial abilities of the apartment complex owner to implement or upgrade security in relation to the costs of implementation
- Whether maintenance records exist with regard to security equipment such as video surveillance, security alarms, call boxes, gates, doors, windows, locks, or gates
- Whether the owner or property manager routinely maintained security equipment to ensure it was in good working condition
- The lighting of hallways, stairwells, areas of ingress/egress, parking lots, or other common areas if inadequate lighting provided an advantage to a perpetrator
- Whether the owner or property manager had a duty to warn tenants about a specific known threat
- The absence of security personnel or presence of negligent or insufficiently numbered security personnel
- Whether the owner conducted background checks on potentially dangerous co-tenants, contractors, or maintenance employees
- The applicability of state or local codes
- The adequacy of key control policies or procedures that enabled perpetrators access to an apartment or other area of the premises (if that is how the crime occurred)
- Whether a specific safety measure was faulty at the time of the incident (e.g., was the gate broken?)
This is not a complete list of factors, but enough to give you an idea of how complex the analysis of a negligent apartment complex can be. We will look into your case and determine whether the complex failed to take any reasonable measures that would have protected you from injury.
How Do I Prove a Negligent Security Case?
Merely suffering injuries at an apartment complex does not validate a negligent security claim. If you suffered injuries from an act of violence at an apartment complex, you must prove that an apartment complex failed to take reasonable measures to protect you and similarly situated tenants.
The other elements of a successful lawsuit are: (a) whether the apartment complex’s negligence contributed to some or all your injuries, and (b) the amount of money it takes to make you whole.
The victim (whom a civil lawsuit refers to as a “plaintiff”) has the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the apartment complex owner or manager caused the injuries or substantially contributed to them.
Can I Get Help with a Negligent Security Claim?
It can be almost impossible to go up against a large company like an apartment complex alone. Because of the immense liability that comes with housing dozens or even hundreds of people, apartment complexes usually have a policy with a large, experienced insurance company that will do whatever it can to limit its payouts. This often means offering low settlements that cover next to nothing or tricking vulnerable victims into saying something that jeopardizes their case.
Sheryl Burke used to work for insurance companies as an adjuster. This means she knows the tactics insurance companies use to deny or reduce the value of a claim. It also means she knows how to defend against them.
Call S. Burke Law Today for Help with Your Negligent Security Claim
Do not risk a claim denial. Speak to the team at S. Burke Law today. Please call 404-842-7838 today, and give our team the opportunity to answer your questions and review your case at no cost to you.