Premises Liability and Sexual Assault

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Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable for a Sexual Assault on their Premises?

Generally, property owners in Texas are required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. When a property owner fails to keep their premises free from known dangers, the injured party might have a valid claim for damages.

This is true in the case of sexual assault. Sexual assaults are an all too frequent occurrence across the state. Landlords must ensure that they do not knowingly put residents and guests in danger of being assaulted.

At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, we provide dedicated representation for sexual assault survivors in Houston and across Texas. If you were assaulted in your apartment complex, at work, or on campus, you might have a valid cause of action against the owner of the property. Contact our Houston sexual assault lawyer at (713) 751-0025 to schedule a free consultation.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Sexual Assault?

Texas had over 13,500 reported cases of forcible rape in a single year. Unfortunately, this number may only be a fraction of the total number of instances of sexual assault. Experts agree that the vast majority of rape and sexual assault cases go unreported. It is estimated that someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds in the United States.

Despite these startling statistics, only a small percentage of rapists ever go to prison. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), only 25 out of every 1,000 rapists end up in prison. For survivors of sexual assault, there must be answers. What few people know is that as a survivor you might be eligible to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and a negligent third party such as a property owner or landlord.

Where Do Sexual Assaults Happen?

Sexual assaults can happen anywhere. Perpetrators often look for places where a person might be vulnerable such as poorly lit common areas in an apartment complex, buildings with unlocked doors or windows, and areas with overgrown shrubbery or landscaping.

A property owner may be held liable if a sexual assault occurs at a:

  • College Campus
  • Church
  • Overnight camp
  • Apartment complex
  • Parking garage
  • Warehouse
  • Retail location
  • Casino
  • Bar
  • Shopping center
  • Hotel or motel

A property owner must keep their premises safe and secure. If they fail to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition it may result in liability if someone is harmed. Premises liability cases are notoriously difficult to prove, so it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your legal options.

What Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable For?

A property owner can be held liable if it can be shown that they owed a duty of care to the victim and breached that duty of care resulting in damages.

A property owner could be held liable for sexual assault if they:

  • Knew about prior sexual assaults and failed to warn residents or visitors;
  • Failed to ensure there was adequate security;
  • Did not install proper lighting;
  • Failed to fix broken locks or fencing; or
  • Did not take precautions to ensure the safety of their residents or visitors.

Sexual assault survivors often experience long-term mental and physical health conditions. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other disabling illnesses. Filing a civil lawsuit against a negligent landowner can help ensure you receive the compensation you need to get proper medical treatment and counseling.

Were You Sexually Assaulted in Houston? Contact Our Office Today.

If you were sexually assaulted in Houston, contact our office at (713) 751-0025. We offer free, no-obligation consultations on all rape and assault cases. There are no fees unless we win. Call now to get started.

At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, we draw from over a century of combined legal know-how and expertise. With the tenacity to win and the resources to get us there, our lawyers provide strong representation for injured victims and their families.