Whether you can bring a lawsuit after getting shot or after losing a loved one in a shooting at an apartment complex in Florida will depend upon a number of factors. In the legal world, this type of lawsuit is commonly referred to as a negligent security lawsuit. The general idea is that the apartment complex failed to take proper precautions and ignored warning signs that criminal or violent activity was occurring or could occur on the property. As a result, someone was injured or killed in a shooting or some other violent criminal act.
In this article, we’re going to talk more about negligent security cases against apartment complexes. We’ll discuss a number of factors and general scenarios. However, if you would like to speak to a negligent security lawyer at our office, please don’t hesitate to schedule your free legal consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website and schedule your consultation via email.
Important Questions After Shooting at Apartment Complex
After a shooting at an apartment complex, there are many important questions your negligent security lawyer will need to get answers to during the investigation. Unfortunately, evidence tends to disappear over time. Thus, in a negligent security case, it’s helpful if you can get a negligent security attorney involved early to make sure important evidence is obtained and preserved.
Below are some of the more important questions we want answered during a negligent security investigation after someone is injured or killed as a result of a shooting at an apartment complex:
How Was the Shooter Involved with the Victim?
When a person is injured or killed in a shooting at an apartment complex, we want to know how that victim was connected to the shooter or shooters. Was the victim an innocent person with no connection to the shooters at all? Alternatively, did the victim have some sort of relationship with the shooters, or was the victim engaged in illegal activity with the shooters?
Was the Shooter Lawfully on the Premises?
After an apartment complex shooting, we want to know whether the shooter was a tenant or guest on the property or if the shooter was a trespasser. A shooter that has a history of violence at the apartment complex may warrant further action by the apartment complex to make sure other people don’t get hurt. In the same way, if the shooter is a trespasser, we would want to know how frequently people trespass on the apartment complex property.
Did the Shooter Have a History of Violent Crime?
After a shooting, we want to know more about the shooter. Was the shooter a known criminal? Who knew about the shooter? Did the apartment complex know that the shooter was violent and frequented the premises?
Did the Apartment Complex Have Working Security Cameras?
One of the most basic types of security equipment is a security camera. These are cheaper and more available than ever before. If an apartment complex has a history of violent crime and still refuses to put up security cameras or has malfunctioning or inadequate security cameras, that apartment complex could be liable for damages suffered as a result.
Did the Apartment Complex Have a Working Gate on the Date of the Crime?
One of the most common reasons people are injured or killed in apartment complex shootings is because the gate is broken or malfunctioning. Just because an apartment complex has a gate does not mean that apartment complex is off the hook. That gate needs to be functioning. If there is a history of the gate malfunctioning, the apartment complex may be liable for injuries suffered as a result. This is especially true when tenants report that the gate isn’t working and then the apartment complex ignores those reports and repair requests.
Any Question that Helps Us Understand What the Apartment Complex Could Have Done to Prevent the Injuries or Death
All of the above questions can help your negligent security lawyer to better understand the actions or inactions of the apartment complex that led to someone getting shot and injured or killed. However, there are many other questions we might ask to uncover or determine liability. To talk with an attorney about this, just give us a call at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free legal consultation with a negligent security attorney at our law firm.
How Can an Apartment Complex Prevent Shootings and Other Violent Acts?
The key point here is that the owner of an apartment complex and the company responsible for security and maintenance should take reasonable steps to prevent shootings and other acts of violence on the premises. Here are some basic steps apartment complexes can take to reduce the risk of death or harm to people visiting or living on the premises:
- Ensure that there is adequate lighting throughout the premises;
- Install a sufficient number of functioning video cameras;
- Have a gate that is properly maintained;
- Install fencing and gates and properly maintain them;
- Hire security to patrol the premises;
- Keep the premises clean and well-maintained to deter crime; and
- Enforce rules against trespassing.
Apartment complex owners and managers are responsible for having a good understanding of the area and the amount of crime in that area. Thus, a responsible apartment complex owner/operator will regularly assess the crime in the area and enact security measures accordingly.
Often times, when a shooting occurs at an apartment complex, the owner either knew or should have known that the premises was dangerous. The reality is that not every crime can be prevented. However, apartment complex owners and managers can take reasonable precautions, based on the information readily available, to deter shootings and other acts of violence on the property.
What Are Some Signs That an Apartment Complex Is Dangerous?
We all have that feeling in our gut that tells us a place is dangerous. The hair stands up on the back of your neck, or the angel on your shoulder whispers that you should leave. Whatever and however you receive that message of danger, you should pay attention to it. In other words, if you feel uneasy or unsafe at an apartment complex, you should consider listening to that warning voice in your head.
In addition to intuition, there are easy ways to quickly assess whether an apartment complex is dangerous and thus whether violent crimes are likely to occur there. Below are some of the signs you might look out for:
- Bad Google reviews and other online reviews;
- People loitering on the premises;
- Broken windows;
- Broken fences;
- A gate at the entrance that is not working;
- Graffiti on the walls or fences;
- Poor lighting or malfunctioning lights;
- High levels of crime in surrounding areas;
- Illegal activity, like drug activity, prostitution, etc.; or
- Metal bars on windows and other anti-theft measures.
Any sign that the apartment complex is falling into disrepair and any sign that folks are engaging in criminal activity on the premises should be a serious warning sign. Be vigilant and be careful when choosing where to live and use the same caution when visiting.
Contact Us for Your FREE Consultation with a Florida Negligent Security Attorney
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a shooting at an apartment complex, you may have a viable negligent security claim. Although the prosecutors and police will handle the criminal side by punishing the offenders, the civil side of the law may make the apartment complex owner’s insurance policy available to cover your damages as a result of your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one.
The first step to pursuing a negligent security claim is to get on the phone with an attorney who is experienced in negligent security cases. We offer free legal consultations, and so that phone call is risk free to you. All you have to do is call us at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation. If you prefer to schedule your consultation by email, just fill out a form on our website, and we’ll reach out to you.
When you schedule a consultation with us, your consultation will be spent with a negligent security attorney at our office. We do not schedule you with an intake person or a customer service representative. We are here when you need us. Just call when you're ready.