CBS in Miami recently reported that two people were shot in the same apartment complex that 6 year old King Carter was murdered just months prior. According to CBS, a man and woman were rushed to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital after shots were fired at a northwest Miami-Dade apartment complex at night.
“The two victims were outside of the apartment complex when the shooter opened fire striking both victims,” said Miami-Dade police Det. Marjorie Eloi. “One victim was struck in the head and the second victim was struck in the shoulder and left arm.”
CBS reported that the shooting happened at the Blue Lake Village apartment complex off NW 12th avenue and 103rd Lane – the same apartment complex where 6-year-old King Carter was shot and killed in February. King’s father ducked for cover, he said, after he heard about 20 shots.
“It’s getting out of hand. You have kids playing out here when they’re supposed to be playing out here. It’s the time of day, they’re out of school and it’s time to get a little play in,” Santonio Carter said.
Apartment complexes in Miami may have a duty to prevent crime
This shooting brings to light a very important legal issue – Apartment complex owners and property managers may be legally responsible to pay all medical expenses, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering if someone dies or is injured on their property in a shooting.
Over the years, I’ve represented countless victims of apartment complex murder and shootings. The public is often not aware that in addition to the police involvement in trying to arrest and charge a criminal, the victim and their family may have their own completely independent and separate insurance claim against the apartment complex owner and property manager. It is what we generally refer to as a negligent security or inadequate security claim.
In a negligent security claim, our goal is to look not just at the actual shooting, but all circumstances surrounding the shooting. We look into things like why did the shooting occur? How did it occur? Why did it occur on that particular property as opposed to others? Was this a high crime area where a complex owner knew about prior crimes, but failed to take reasonable steps to provide more adequate security?
Victims Of Apartment Shootings May Have Rights!
Florida crime victims may be entitled to pursue an insurance claim against the apartment owners and property managers. This is called a civil claim. In a civil claim for gun violence, the focus is on the crime itself to determine whether it was foreseeable or preventable. If it was in any way, then the insurance company of the apartment complex may be responsible to pay money to the victim for pain and suffering, funeral expenses, lost wages, medical expenses, among other damages.
As a Florida crime victims rights attorney, apartment shooting claims may include someone killed by an unknown shooter on the property, a neighbor shot by another neighbor, or someone killed on the property by a known shooter. Each claim is looked at based on the specific facts of the case. In fact, you may still be able to pursue an insurance claim even if the shooter is never caught or is unknown because the claim, in part, is based on the negligence of the apartment complex for not protecting you.
Ways of Determining Liability
There are several angles we look at to determine whether a property may be responsible in a civil claim. For example, there may be liability where a property had a prior shooting and failed to take reasonable steps to provide for the safety of its tenants, which then resulted in another shooting on the property. In that type of case, the property owner was on notice that the property may be unsafe, yet failed to adequately provide security based on its apparent needs. Another example may be where a person is shot and killed in an apartment complex by another tenant who, by the terms of the lease or regulations, was not suitable to be a tenant on the property and never should have lived there.
In some situations, we can look at crime grids of the surrounding property or police reports from the complex itself to see whether there was a history of violent crimes on or near the property. This may be one factor in looking at whether a crime is foreseeable or preventable.
Insurance May Cover The Damages
Many shooting victims and their families may not be aware that the liability insurance of an apartment complex may actually cover them to pay for their medical expenses and pain and suffering, among other damages. If the apartment complex, property manager, maintenance company or security company were negligent, their liability insurance may apply. In addition to liability insurance, many of these policies also provide medical payment coverage to help pay for a victim’s medical expenses, regardless of whether the complex was negligent. An experienced victim’s rights attorney can help determine whether you have a potential claim.
Two Shootings In Three Months May Be Too Many
The victims of the recent Miami apartment complex shooting may have a civil claim against the property owners, property managers, maintenance company or security company, if any. A lot may come down to what reasonable steps the complex took following the first shooting. If they failed to increase security or even analyze security, a jury could find that they failed to provide adequate security and hold them (and ultimately their insurance company) liability to pay for all of their damages, including all medical expenses and pain and suffering.
As an attorney for victims of apartment complex shootings, we can handle claims throughout all of Florida, from Orlando to Miami to Naples to Tampa to Fort Lauderdale, Pensacola and the rest of the state. For more information on Florida apartment complex shooting claims, feel free to contact our office at 800-337-7755 for a free consultation.