Can I Sue My Landlord if I Was Hurt in a Shooting on the Property?

Unfortunately, homes are not always safe, particularly when the residents do not have total control over who is on the property, such as in apartment buildings. Sometimes the worst happens: a person might be shot and injured, even if they had nothing to do with the altercation or the person who shot the gun. When this happens, can tenants sue their landlord or the property management company for personal injuries?

Regrettably, there is no clear answer. Landlords do have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe at all times. They must take standard measures such as keeping lights and door locks in good condition. However, Georgian landlords are not always necessarily responsible for guaranteeing their tenants’ safety from crimes committed by third parties.

This means that, if another person not related to the apartment complex or rental home shoots and wounds a tenant, it does not automatically make the landlord responsible. This is particularly true if the landlord has fulfilled their standard duty of care, such as by providing proper lighting and locks.

Knowledge of Danger

However, there is one exception to this. When the landlord is aware that there are certain dangers around the building, they can be held liable for not maintaining a safe property. Perhaps there have been crimes committed on the property before, or the complex is in a bad neighborhood and the landlord should have known there was a good chance of criminal activity occurring on or around the property.

When this is the case, the landlord has an added duty to keep the tenants safe. This could include installing intercoms and surveillance equipment, or installing window bars in the units that are on the ground floor and thus easily accessible from the outside.

When any incident occurs that poses a risk to the safety of the tenants on the property, the landlord should also be given written notice of what transpired. If a landlord disregards this notice and continues to do nothing to ensure the property is kept safe, that failure to take safety precautions can further prove the landlord’s negligence.

Circumstances of a Case Determine Liability

Truthfully, no one can say whether a tenant has a valid basis for a personal injury lawsuit against a landlord after they have been shot, without analyzing the specific facts of a case. It will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding the shooting, whether the landlord or property management company had taken standard security measures, and whether they had knowledge that a crime could potentially happen on the property.

Anyone who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation should always speak to a negligent security attorney who could review their case and advise an injured plaintiff as to whether the landlord was negligent. A civil case is only possible if the plaintiff suffered actual compensable injuries while the crime was being committed.