Property Owner’s Liability for Criminal Acts on Another Person’s Property

What are your rights when you’ve been injured by a criminal act on another person’s property?

In Texas, an owner or possessor of property has a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Generally, this means that the landowner or person in possession of the premises is under a legal duty to warn or make safe any unreasonably dangerous conditions that they either know about or reasonably should know or foresee under the circumstances. This includes taking reasonable steps to discover the frequency and proximity of crimes on and around their premises and implementing reasonable measures to protect their tenants, customers, guests, and other persons legally on the property, from the unreasonable risk of harm of criminal acts of third parties. Reasonable measures typically include, for example, gates, security cameras, security lights, security guards to police the premises, and warnings and notices to deter and/or thwart criminal activity.

Under the seminal Texas case, Timberwalk Apartments Partners, Inc. v. Cain 972 S.W. 2d 749, 751 (Tex. 1998), the Texas Supreme Court set out five factors that are to be considered in determining whether the criminal conduct should have been foreseen on the premises and protected against (1) the proximity of previous crimes to the premises; (2) how recent previous crimes occurred; (3) how often previous crimes occurred; (4) the similarity of previous crimes to the crime at issue; and (5) the publicity surrounding previous crimes.  In the Timberwalk case, the Plaintiff was sexually assaulted in her apartment and sued the owner of the apartment complex for failing to provide adequate security. Ultimately, the Supreme Court held that a premises owner owes a duty to those who may be harmed by criminal acts on the premises when the risk of criminal conduct is so great that it is both foreseeable and unreasonable.  

If you or someone you love has been victimized or harmed on the property of another due to the criminal acts of a third party, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 1 (800) 870-9584. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the longest-standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist you with your claim.