The pain of sexual assault is almost unimaginable. It’s challenging enough just to recover physically from a rape and begin to process your feelings associated with it. Seeking justice requires additional strength and resources. Most discussions about sex crimes focus on the parties directly involved—the assaulter and the victim. But what about those who contribute in an indirect way?
Can a Negligent Apartment Complex Owner Be Sued?
Let’s say a young woman gets raped outside her apartment complex. Prior to the assault, she and other tenants had complained multiple times to the owner. They reported that the outside lights were broken. They said the magnetic gate didn’t close. They said creepy people had been loitering in the parking lot for hours. They took these actions, but the owner ignored everything. Intuitively, it seems like the victim should have legal recourse. After all, had the owner fixed the lights and gate—and taken the harassment claims seriously—maybe the rape wouldn’t have happened.
Making a “Negligent Security” Claim
According to the law, you can sue an apartment building owner for something called “negligent security” for a rape. To win, you need to be able to prove:
- The apartment building owner had notice or knowledge of the criminal activity going on in and around the apartment building.
- The owner’s negligence led (directly or indirectly) to your harm.
Supporting Your Claim
The more documentation and evidence you have on your side, the better. For instance, you should collect and save:
- Emails you sent the owner about problems or suspicious activity on the property.
- Video or photo evidence.
- Police reports.
- Recorded statements from witnesses or fellow tenants.
Criminal Versus Civil Actions
Depending on how bad the owner’s negligence was, and what else happened, he made be subject to criminal charges. However, to sue and collect damages from him, you need to go through civil court.
Get the Help You Need
Our compassionate, thorough legal team is standing by to protect your rights. We can advocate to get you compensated—not only to hold negligent parties to account but also to protect others in the future. Contact us for a confidential consultation about your next steps.