Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP
Treating California’s Injured With Dignity And Respect

If I’m robbed in my apartment, is insurance my only option?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Premises Liability

If you experience the horror of being robbed in your apartment, putting your life back together is one of your primary concerns. You probably have already filed a renter’s insurance claim to recover some of your losses. But, did your landlord do everything they could do to make sure that this did not happen to you. Did they make sure that your home and the apartment complex were safe? Can you sue them for negligent security?

Premises liability and negligent security

Premises liability holds landowners responsible for people injured on their property because of some dangerous condition of the property. It is a wide range of law that includes slip and falls, dog bites, drownings and negligent security. For the purposes of this blog post, negligent security occurs when the landlord fails to provide for the reasonable safety or adequate security measures of their tenants, their guests and prospective tenants from foreseeable criminal acts.

When can you sue your landlord for negligent security?

You may have a negligent security claim against your landlord if you can prove that your landlord had a duty to provide you with reasonable security measures. If you had a valid tenancy, you likely did. You then would need to prove that your landlord breached that duty. This breach can be done by failing to provide adequate security, creating the dangerous condition itself or by allowing a dangerous condition to exist.

Next, you must show that you suffered the security breach as a result, like you were, in fact, robbed, assaulted, etc. And, finally, you must show that this security breach resulted in some damage, like you were robbed, or you suffered some physical or psychological trauma.

If I am robbed in my apartment, is insurance my only option?

Maybe not. You may be able to sue your landlord for negligent security. Here is an example. Suppose you live in a high-crime rate area, and you can show that your landlord knows this. This can be through you reporting it to them, repeated police reports, their participation in investigations, etc. For example, there were several assaults on the property and robberies in units in the past year.

Nonetheless, your landlord did not install any new locks or additional locks on the main entrance. They did not install any new lights or fix any broken lights in common areas inside or outside the complex and they did not hire any security guards.

Then, it happens. One night, your apartment is broken into, and you are robbed at gun point. You suffer physical injuries, emotional trauma and property loss. In this scenario, you likely have a claim for negligent security against your negligent landlord.