Is an apartment complex liable for an assault against a tenant?

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Is an apartment complex liable for an assault against a tenant?

My son was a victim of stabbing in the apartment comlex which I live. The person was arrested and charged. My question to you is, is the apartment complex liable to a certain degree and if so how would I go about presuing that issue. What are my rights?

Asked on November 18, 2010 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In order to establish liability on the part of the landlord/apartment complex, you would have to prove that the landlord/apartment complex was negligent in not providing adequate security that would have prevented the assault and battery against your son.  If your son is 18, he could sue the landlord/apartment complex in his own name.  If he is under 18, you would need to be appointed guardian ad litem to sue on his behalf.

Negligence is based on the exercise of due care to prevent foreseeable injury.  Due care in this case is that degree of care that a reasonable landlord would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.  If a reasonable landlord would have provided security and your landlord did not, you could argue that your landlord breached the duty of due care.  You would then need to prove that the breach of the duty of care was the actual and proximate cause of your son's injuries.  Actual cause means but for the landlord failing to provide adequate security would your son have been stabbed?  If the answer is no, you have established actual cause.  If the answer is yes, then you have not established actual cause and the landlord is not liable.  If the answer is no, you have established actual cause and now must establish proximate cause.  Proximate cause means were there any intervening events that caused your son's injury? If so, was the intervening event (stabbing) forseeable or unforeseeable?  If foreseeable, the landlord is liable and proximate cause has been established  If the stabbing was  unforeseeable, the landlord may be relieved of liability.  Proximate cause would be an issue in this case because the landlord will claim that the stabbing was an unforeseeable intervening event which would relieve the landlord of liability.  If you are able to prevail on the issue of proximate cause, in addition to the other elements I have mentioned above, you have established that the landlord/apartment complex was negligent.  Damages ( the amount your son  or you on your son's behalf are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence against the landlord/apartment complex) would be your son's medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and any wage loss.  The medical bills and wage loss would be straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills and would be determined by the medical reports which document the nature and extent of your son's injuries.

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence, it would be advisable to contact the insurance carrier for the landlord/apartment complex to see if the insurance carrier is willing to settle the case.  If the case is settled prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, no lawsuit will be filed.  If the case is not settled, you will need to file the lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or your son (you on your son's behalf) will lose his/your rights forever in the matter.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, file the lawsuit for negligence against the landlord/apartment complex.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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