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Everyone has different priorities and expectations when moving into a new place. Some people want a place with access to a gym and a pool; others want updated appliances. One thing that most tenants probably anticipate from landlords is security.
It can be devastating to learn that your apartment is not as secure as you may have hoped, especially if have to learn this the hard way. There could be many different ways your apartment complex did not keep you safe. Your apartment owner and manager have certain responsibilities that are meant to protect your safety, and their failure to meet those responsibilities could help you recover for the harm and losses you suffered.
If have been injured because your apartment complex did not follow safety measures, talk to the Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will give you a free case evaluation.
What is Premises Liability?
It can be especially difficult to be injured at home. It is your “castle,” the place you go for safe haven and where you invite your family and friends to visit with you, and it is where you relax and sleep. When peace and security in your safe haven have been breached, the impact can be devastating.
Premises liability arises from the negligence of a property owner who has allowed some unsafe condition to persist on the property. Such conditions can be avoided by regular inspections and by answering tenant requests for repairs.
A landlord can be liable for injuries arising out of a failure to keep the property in good repair, such as not removing dead limbs from trees, not fixing broken stairs, and allowing excess trash to build up. These hazards produce foreseeable harms, and other foreseeable harms that fall under premises liability can arise from inadequate security.
What is Inadequate security?
If a landlord provides inadequate security, the landlord is likely negligent under premises liability. Failure to fix broken locks, allowing unauthorized guests at the apartment complex, and not providing enough outdoor lighting are just a few ways that a landlord might provide inadequate security.
Broken locks can lead to break-ins, unauthorized guests can cause damage and can open the door to even more unauthorized individuals, and inadequate lighting can provide cover for someone to commit crimes. There are measures that a landlord should take to avoid these security issues.
What can I do if my apartment did not keep me safe?
The landlord of your apartment complex has a duty to keep the apartment safe for you. If he or she fails to do so and you become injured as a result, you might pursue a claim for inadequate resident security by connecting your injury to the condition that caused it.
The following examples might be helpful to think about how you might link your injury and your landlord’s inadequate security. We will use the condition examples described above—broken locks, unauthorized guests, and poor lighting—as the conditions that led to the injury.
What if Someone Broke into My Apartment?
If someone broke into your apartment, one of these three possible conditions might have been in place to allow that to happen:
If your apartment has broken locks on the doors or windows, then someone who wants to get into your apartment has much easier access. Properly functioning locks secure your apartment against break-ins. If you can prove that your locks were defective and that the defectiveness of the locks caused the break-in, you may have a strong inadequate security case.
Unauthorized guests could potentially lead to break-ins. If landlords ignore tenants’ complaints about unauthorized persons in and around the complex, the complex could attract uninvited guests looking to make some quick money at your expense.
Similarly, poor lighting around back entrances to apartments can provide cover for someone to break in. If someone breaks into your apartment in an area that is not well-lit, you can show that your landlord’s failure to provide adequate security—by way of insufficient or absent lighting—caused the break-in.
What if I Was Injured in My Apartment Parking Lot?
If you were injured in your apartment parking lot, you may be able to connect it to a condition that your landlord should have addressed and prevented. While the condition of broken locks is less relevant in this example, your landlord still may have provided inadequate security in the form of unauthorized guests and a lack of lighting.
Unauthorized persons at the complex could be there for several reasons, some reasons being more nefarious than others. If someone who does not live at the apartment complex assaults you in the parking lot and you can show that the landlord regularly allowed unfamiliar people into the complex, then you might also be able to show that the landlord is liable for your injuries.
Some landlords overlook the importance of lighting in parking lots. It is helpful for tenants to have a clearly visible path to their door not only to stop them from slipping or tripping, but also so that they can see if a potential threat comes their way. Additionally, if your apartment complex is in an area with a high crime rate, your landlord may have provided inadequate security if he or she failed to install security cameras or hire security personnel to patrol the property.
Should I find a personal injury lawyer near me?
You may consider hiring an attorney if you are not entirely comfortable with the legal system. Understanding how to prove a negligence case might give you a better idea of whether you should find a personal injury lawyer to help you file a claim and pursue your case.
In an inadequate security negligence claim, you must show that the landlord had a duty to adequately provide security to the premises, that the landlord breached that duty by failing to provide security, that you suffered an injury as a result of that lack of security, and that the landlord’s negligent conduct caused your injury.
The Landlord’s Duty
The landlord is held to the duty of care of a similarly situated reasonable person. For example, if other landlords with similar complexes in the area use security cameras, there is a chance that the use of security cameras is the standard of care required for similarly situated landlords.
The Landlord’s Breach of Duty
If the landlord fails to meet the standard of similarly situated landlords in your area, he or she may have breached the duty to provide safe housing to tenants.
In a negligence case, you must show that you suffered a real injury for which you can receive compensation. If you had property damaged or stolen or if you suffered a serious physical injury as a result of your landlord’s negligence, it is likely that you could recover under the law.
Earlier, we described ways in which you might link the injury you suffered to your landlord’s failure to keep the premises safe. This is how you will prove the final element of negligence in your case: Show how your landlord’s breach of the duty to keep the property safe directly or proximately caused your injury.
How can a Personal injury attorney near me help?
If the thought of proving your inadequate security lawsuit intimidates you, you do not need to go into the legal process alone. An attorney can help you through both the substantive process of building the strongest case possible for you and the procedural process of filing the appropriate paperwork and meeting deadlines.
Filing Your Claim
You may want a lawyer’s advice about whether to even file your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with resident security lawsuits will be able to help you decide whether your case is strong enough to pursue based on the facts you bring.
Some types of evidence that you may want to gather for your case will include photographs of the faulty or broken security devices or the lack of security devices. You might also want to gather evidence of you bringing these issues to the landlord’s attention if you have emails, texts, or recorded phone calls of that nature. Finally, if you incurred a physical injury, you should keep your medical paperwork and bills.
A skilled lawyer will know what other kinds of specific evidence can be used to increase the amount you can try to receive in compensation for your injuries. The more evidence you have, the better your chances of proving your case in a lawsuit.
Negotiating a Settlement Amount
Your landlord probably has insurance to protect against just the sort of suit you seek to file. It can be intimidating and difficult to go up against insurance companies that want to pay out as little as possible. An attorney who knows how to talk to the insurance company can ensure that you do not say anything to hurt the strength of your case.
As someone who has suffered from the negligence of a landlord, you could be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include money amounts you can easily measure like medical bills and the value of your damaged or stolen property. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injury.
our Personal Injury lawyers are ready to talk to you
We understand how troubling it is to have the place where you should feel the safest be the scene of an unfortunate incident—especially a preventable one. Call the Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312 so we can schedule your free consultation.
Our sympathetic personal injury attorneys are ready to hear about your case and how your apartment complex failed you. Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee ensures that you will not owe us anything unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.