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Personal Injury and Crime in Apartment Buildings


Tampa Bay: A Tallahassee apartment complex was the site of a murder last November, and now the owners and operators are being sued by the victim’s mother. Though murder and negligence encompass two different areas of law, this particular case involves premises liability, which is handled by a personal injury attorney. On February 2, the victim’s mother filed suit against the property owners/operators for the alleged lack of safety measures which may have prevented the murder of her son on said premises. Apparently, the apartment complex is located amid areas known for crime and the property owners and operators failed to provide proper surveillance and security to protect against criminal activity such as burglary, theft, and murder. The premises liability claim, if successful, will award the victim’s mother and his surviving two-year son $60,000 and will serve to help tenants who have fallen victim to crime due to the negligence of building owners and operators.

Premises Liability and Crime in Apartment Buildings

The laws that govern Premises Liability mandate that landlords, operators, and/owners keep hallways, entrances, and stairwells hazard-free and pose no threat of injury or harm to occupants and guests. This responsibility includes walking surfaces, which must be kept free of substances that may cause a slip and fall, and any fixed or unfixed objects such as handrails, fire extinguishers, paintings, etc. When a crime or act of violence take place within the premises of an apartment building, the victim of a robbery or other crime may be able file a lawsuit for security negligence if there is substantial proof that the building or premises operator acted without care and didn’t take the necessary measures to help prevent an act of crime. In some cases, security negligence may stretch beyond the interior of the apartment complex and include the parking lot or any other area set within the premises. The landlord or building operator is responsible for providing an environment that is relatively safe for its occupants no matter where they are or when. This can be done by making sure entryways are secured by working locks and windows are intact, free from cracks or busted locks. In the event that the property operator was aware that a door or window didn’t close properly or locks were busted, and an individual enters to commit a crime, the victim may have justifiable right to a personal injury claim based on negligence by the landlord or property manager.

Things to consider if you were the victim of a crime as an occupant of the building in which you live:

  • How did the criminal enter the premises?
  • What time did the crime happen?
  • Where did the criminal activity take place?
  • What crime was committed?
  • Could the crime have been prevented by the landlord or property manager?

These questions are fundamental when considering filing an insurance claim for compensation following a crime within the premises of an apartment building or any places that house people.

In Miami, the Perazzo Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys remind tenants that their lease may include arbitrary clauses which may absolve the landlord or property manager of any fault in the event of a crime. In this case, a mediation process must be considered. Unfortunately, that may lead nowhere despite any arguments on behalf of a personal injury lawyer to hold the landlord at fault for serious personal injury resulting from a crime on their premises. Furthermore, tenants must be advised that a lease, which is a rental agreement, holds both parties responsible for the acts that take place on said premises. Just like tenants must care for their living spaces and respect the rules established by the property manager, landlords must abide by premises liability laws which aim to safeguard against situations that may lead to personal injury, losses, or even wrongful death from accidents or crime.

What to do if you suffered injury or losses from a crime in an apartment complex

In the event that the building or complex is located in an area known for criminal activity, the property owner or operator has the duty to provide proper safety and security measures through surveillance cameras and security personnel. Furthermore, the property manager or landlord must notify tenants and occupants of any dangers that exist so that they can take any necessary precautions to safeguard their well-being. If you, a friend, or relative has fallen victim to criminal activity such as theft, burglary, vandalism, or sexual assault, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find out whether an insurance claim for compensation is viable.

Common Acts of Negligence by a Property Owner, Landlord, or Manager 

Though most premises liability claims differ and no two are alike, one thing is always for sure; accidents can be prevented. But how is a crime an accident? A crime is not an accident, however, the failure to prevent such crime from taking place in an apartment complex or any premises housing tenants or occupants, is what an experienced personal injury lawyer will help prove through an investigation of the premises and how the criminal activity was allowed to occur.

Some examples of negligence by a Property Owner, Landlord, or Manager

  • Failure to hire or train security personnel, especially in areas where criminal activity is common
  • Failure to provide surveillance through cameras or motion sensors
  • Poor lighting or signaling of areas that require attentiveness
  • Failure to warn of any dangers that made lead to injury
  • Malfunctioning locks or broken windows
  • Lack of perimeter protection such as fences, gates, or doors

All of the above pertain to the building and any exteriors belonging to the premises such as parking lots, laundry rooms, or even outdoor common areas like swimming pools.

CONTACT the Perazzo Law Firm in Miami-Dade for a FREE initial consultation regarding an accident or injuries from criminal activity that takes place in an apartment building. Contact us for ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET FEES.



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