Houston Assault & Negligent Security Lawyer
In 2018, a Harris County jury sentenced a serial rapist to life in prison, but only after he had already committed a dozen rapes of women who lived in large apartment complexes, including five in communities like Houston and Jersey Village. Lawsuits – and multi-million dollar settlements – abound against apartment complexes for negligence that results in a tenant’s rape, from failing to provide a lock on a sliding patio door, to failing to notify residents about previous sexual attacks on the property. Some feel tenants are responsible to keep their units secure, while others feel that the blame for an attack lies solely on the attacker, but Texas law is clear. Property owners have a duty to use reasonable care to protect the safety of those on their premises, and owners can be held liable for assaults and attacks that occur due, in part, to the owner’s negligence. The Houston assault & negligent security lawyers at Livingston & Flowers help assault victims obtain compensation and justice after an attack by holding property owners accountable for the harm they have caused by their negligence.
Reasonable care and negligence of Houston property owners
Property owners are required to use reasonable care in maintaining their premises in a safe condition. In many people’s minds, premises liability applies to a slip & fall accident on dangerous property that was negligently maintained. Texas premises liability law applies to other types of safety and security as well. A premises that is unsafe due to negligent security could invite a variety of harm, including:
- Sexual assault (rape)
Property owners cannot prevent all intentional bad acts by others, but providing appropriate security measures can deter criminal activity, and negligent security can actually facilitate crime. Appropriate security and safety measures depend on the type of property or business and the area where it is located. Common proper security measures may include:
- Ensuring that lighting is adequate and functioning properly in stairwells, hallways, parking garages and parking lots
- Seeing that doors and windows have working locks or are properly secured
- Providing monitored gates, alarms and keyed entrances
- Providing security guards and patrols
The appropriate security measures can depend in part on whether the property is located in a low-crime or a high-crime area. Also, appropriate measures can change, for instance if the property is in a traditionally low-crime area, but the premises or a neighboring property has seen a recent spike in robberies, assaults or other criminal activity.
Negligent security claims can be brought against any business or property owner, although the most common claims of negligent security in Houston are brought against:
- Nightclubs and bars
- Apartment complexes
- Sports arenas and concert venues
Providing security guards and bouncers can be a double-edged sword
Some businesses employ security guards as a matter of course, while others may take these measures only if a need for heightened security is felt. When security personnel are provided, it is important that they be properly screened, trained and supervised. Untrained, unsupervised or unqualified personnel may act unprofessionally and wind up harming patrons through overzealous or out-of-control job performance. Employers and businesses can be sued for negligent hiring or negligent supervision and held liable for physical harm or false imprisonment committed by their employees.
Get the Help You Need after an Assault in Your Houston Apartment that You Thought was Safe
After an assault on their premises, property owners and their insurers will claim that the security they had in place was reasonable and that they cannot be held responsible for the intentional, criminal acts of a third party. It is essential to be well-represented by skilled, knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who understand negligent security and know how to build a strong case proving the property owner’s liability. In Houston, call Livingston & Flowers at 713-489-4400 for a free consultation with a team of dedicated and successful Houston assault & negligent security lawyers.