Can I Hold My Apartment Complex Liable If I’m Injured During a Break-In?

Can I Hold My Apartment Complex Liable If I’m Injured During a Break-In?

You arrive home one evening to find your apartment has been broken into. The place is ransacked and you have several minor injuries from struggling with the intruder. Understandably, you are shaken up and angry that this happened in the building you pay rent to live in. You start to wonder if the apartment complex holds any liability or responsibility for what happened. As a tenant, you rightfully expect a certain degree of safety and security. This article examines whether you have legal grounds to hold your apartment complex liable if you sustain injuries during a break-in. We will analyze premises liability laws and how they relate to apartment complexes. You will learn what duties apartment owners owe to residents when it comes to preventing criminal acts by third parties. After reading, you will better understand your options if you have the misfortune of being injured during a home invasion.

Understanding Premises Liability Law in Texas

Duty of Care

In Texas, property owners have a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises under their control in a safe condition. This means apartment complex owners must take reasonable precautions to protect tenants and their guests from foreseeable dangers such as criminal acts of third parties. Failure to do so could constitute negligence.


To hold an apartment complex liable for injuries suffered during a break-in, you must show that the criminal act was foreseeable under the circumstances. Factors that determine foreseeability include:

  • The location and character of the property
  • Prior criminal acts on or near the property
  • The lack of adequate security precautions
  • The visibility or obviousness of valuable property left in plain sight

If the complex was aware of previous break-ins or theft in the area but failed to take extra security measures, they may be found negligent.

Adequate Security Precautions

Apartment complexes have a duty to provide adequate security to protect tenants from criminal acts of intruders. This could include:

• Installing proper locks, lighting, fencing

• Conducting background checks on tenants

• Providing security guards or patrols

• Maintaining a policy of key control and limiting access to non-tenants

Failure to implement standard security practices may demonstrate negligence on the part of the apartment complex.


If you can show that your apartment complex breached their duty of care and that breach led to foreseeable harm, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering. You should consult with a personal injury lawyer regarding your legal options.

Proving Your Apartment Complex Was Negligent

To hold your apartment complex liable for injuries sustained during a break-in, you must prove that their negligence was a contributing factor.

Failure to Provide Adequate Security

If the complex failed to provide reasonable security measures like secure locks, alarms, security cameras or guard patrols, they may be found negligent. You would need evidence like police reports or witness statements confirming lack of security enabled the perpetrator to access the property.

Knowledge of Defects or Risks

The complex may also be negligent if they were aware of defects like broken locks or other risks like a history of break-ins, but failed to remedy issues or warn tenants. You would have to provide documentation proving the complex had knowledge of the risks prior to your incident.

Failure to Conduct Routine Inspections

Apartment complexes have a duty to conduct routine inspections and maintenance to ensure the safety and security of the premises. If a lack of inspections allowed for issues like broken locks to persist and contribute to your attack, the complex may be held liable. Maintenance records could be used to show a lack of required inspections.

While proving negligence can be challenging, documentation like police and medical reports, witness statements, and records from the complex itself may provide the evidence needed to hold them accountable for your injuries. By showing they failed to provide basic security, knew of risks and failed to act, or did not properly inspect the property, you can demonstrate their negligence contributed to the attack that caused your harm. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover damages through a settlement or in court.

Damages You Can Recover After Being Injured During a Break-In

Medical Expenses

If you sustain injuries during a break-in at your apartment complex, you may be able to recover damages for the medical costs required to treat your injuries. This includes expenses for emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgery, medication, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and other necessary medical care. You will need records of all your medical bills and expenses to prove the amount you are owed.

Lost Wages

If your injuries prevent you from being able to work, you may be able to recover lost wages or loss of earning capacity. You will need records from your employer verifying your normal wages and time missed from work. Lost wages can include base pay as well as bonuses, commissions, and other benefits you would have earned if you had not been injured.

Pain and Suffering

You may be able to recover damages for the physical pain, mental anguish, and diminished quality of life resulting from your injuries. Although pain and suffering are difficult to quantify, the severity and duration of your injuries are considered. Photographs of your injuries, medical records, and testimony from your doctors regarding your pain and recovery process can help demonstrate the amount you should be compensated.

The specific damages that may be available to you will depend on the laws of your state and the details of your particular situation. An attorney can help you understand which types of damages apply in your case and work to recover the maximum amount you are owed from the at-fault parties. While no amount of money can undo the harm caused by such a traumatic event, receiving fair compensation can at least help you pay for needed treatment and provide some measure of justice.

Hiring a Texas Car Accident Lawyer for Your Premises Liability Claim

Finding an Experienced Attorney

If you have suffered injuries during a break-in at your apartment complex, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim. However, pursuing legal action against a property owner can be complicated. It is advisable to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. Look for a lawyer who handles premises liability and negligent security cases. They will be familiar with the nuances of these types of claims under Texas law.

Investigating the Incident

A skilled attorney will thoroughly investigate the break-in incident to determine whether the apartment complex failed to provide adequate security. They will review police reports, interview witnesses, and examine the property’s security systems and protocols. If they find evidence that lax security contributed to the break-in, they can build a strong case to prove the complex’s negligence.

Negotiating a Settlement

In many cases, premises liability claims are resolved through an out-of-court settlement. Your attorney will determine a fair settlement amount based on factors like the severity of your injuries, medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They will negotiate with the insurance company representing the apartment complex to reach an agreement that provides you with adequate compensation. If a settlement cannot be reached, they can take the case to trial on your behalf.

The legal issues surrounding premises liability claims can be complicated for the average person to navigate alone. Meeting with an attorney for a free initial consultation is the best way to understand your rights and legal options. They can evaluate the specifics of your case, answer your questions, and provide guidance on the merits of pursuing legal action. With an attorney advocating for you, you have the best chance of recovering damages for your injuries.

FAQs: What You Need to Know About Holding Your Apartment Liable

What constitutes negligence on the part of an apartment complex?

An apartment complex can be held liable for injuries that occur during a break-in if it can be proven that the management acted negligently. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care. For example, if the complex failed to provide adequate security measures like sturdy locks, security cameras, lighting, and fencing, it may be considered negligent. The complex may also be negligent if it was aware of previous break-ins or threats and did not take appropriate action to prevent future incidents.

Do I have to prove the apartment complex was directly at fault?

You do not necessarily have to prove that the apartment complex was directly responsible for the break-in that caused your injuries. Under premises liability laws, property owners have a duty to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm to lawful visitors like tenants and their guests. If a break-in was reasonably foreseeable given the location and circumstances, the complex may still be liable even if they did not directly cause the incident. The key factor is whether they took appropriate precautions to prevent such an event.

What kind of evidence will I need to build a strong case?

To have a compelling case, you will need evidence to demonstrate that the apartment complex was negligent in some way. This may include records of previous break-ins, police reports, witness statements, expert testimony regarding security standards, and photographs or video footage of any defects like broken locks or lighting issues. You should also gather medical records and other evidence to substantiate the injuries and damages you incurred. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have grounds for a premises liability claim and build the strongest possible case.

With the right evidence and a skilled attorney on your side, you have a chance of holding your apartment complex accountable if their negligence contributed to injuries you suffered during a break-in. However, these types of cases can be complex, so make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before pursuing legal action.


In conclusion, while you have the right as a tenant to feel safe and secure in your apartment, apartment complexes generally cannot be held liable if you are injured during a break-in. The complex has a duty to provide reasonable security, but cannot guarantee absolute protection. Focus instead on taking precautions like installing extra locks, having a security system, ensuring windows are secure, and being vigilant about keeping doors locked. Also review your renters insurance policy to ensure you have coverage for injuries and lost belongings in a break-in. Though you may feel violated after a break-in, it is difficult to prove complex negligence. Work proactively with management and legal counsels from lawyers at Fletcher Law on improving security and take measures to protect yourself.