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I was attacked in my apartment building, does the fact that my attacker was a neighbor bar me from any action against building?

New York, NY |

I was attacked in an apartment building hallway, I was hit with a hammer, I suffered a fractured mandible, nerve damage, and a puncture wound to the face. It should be noted that:

This occurred on the fourth floor of the building, however, only half the floors in this 6 story building have security cameras the fourth floor landing does not.

The attacker was arrested/Charged w/Assault 1st deg.

The building owners are aware of previous violence, drug use and borders residing in the building and this can be proven as such letters have been sent to neighbors warning those who take in borders are in violations of the terms of their lease I have personally seen these letters.

In short do you think I might have a case despite the attacker being a neighbor?

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Attorney answers 5


In Texas this case would be difficult because of our state laws that allow for a defense of criminal acts to allow the landlord or property owner to avoid civil liability for criminal acts. You should discuss this matter with a NY personal injury lawyer that handles premises liability cases. I hope you are making a good recovery.

I am only licensed in Texas. By providing my opinions and comments to questions on this site, I am not engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in any other jurisdiction. No attorney client relationship is being created by my responding to this question.


What you are describing is a negligent security claim against the building owner/management. Such claims are not barred by New York law as they are in Texas, but they are not easy either. You have to prove that proper security could have prevented your injuries, and your financial recovery from the building- if you are entitled to any- is partially offset to the extent ot the assailant's responsibility. I do not handle these cases myself, but if you don't find a lawyer on Avvo to help you, contact me off list and I will help you find somebody.

Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.

Mary Katherine Brown

Mary Katherine Brown


You should certainly contact Mr. Brophy if you do not find someone right away. Good luck!


I agree with Mr. Brophy's assessment; however, I cannot tell from your question whether the assailant was a legitimate tenant or a border who was on premises in violation of someone's lease. If the former, you would have a very difficult time assigning and proving liability against the building. Nevertheless, Mr. Brophy knows many excellent attorneys and if he offered to help you find someone, you are already on the right track! Good luck!

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


You have an inadequate security case. The fact the building owners were aware of previous violence is a key fact, which may help you prevail. For example, I had a case where I man was shot at a gas station, and I obtain the full 1 million policy limits from the gas station's general liability policy. Get a personal injury lawyer ASAP. Good luck to you.

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I've handled these cases for Plaintiffs, Defendants, and for insurance carriers denying coverage to building owners. From a plaintiff's standpoint, they are difficult, because you would have to show that the building owner's negligence contributed to the assault. In this case the assailant had a key to the building, so the LL could not have prevented access. Additionally, even though there are no cameras, it could be hard to argue that the lack of cameras contributed to the assault, and since the assailant was caught, the lack of cameras did not prevent the identification of the assailant. If the person that assaulted you was a border, I do think that a viable cause of action could be drafted, however, and whether you recover or not depends on the jury pool, and a number of facts that will have to be developed during the discovery process.

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