A shooting at Riviera Hills Apartments in Lauderhill, Florida left a 9-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the neck. The shooting occurred on November 14, 2023, a Tuesday, at around 9:10 p.m. The apartment complex where all this took place is located in the 5300 block of Northwest 19th Street.
The police showed up to the scene after a 911 call about a child bleeding from his neck. Upon arrival, first responders found the boy unresponsive. The child got immediate medical attention and was swiftly transported to Broward Medical Health Center. As of Wednesday morning, he’s reportedly still in critical condition.
The bullet apparently came from a nearby apartment unit, and we don’t know what the shooter’s motive was or who is responsible. Hopefully, this information becomes available soon.
How Many Shootings Happen in Florida Apartment Complexes Every Year?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida’s “death rate,” which is the number of deaths per 100,000 people, was 14.1 for firearm mortality in 2021. The total number of deaths was 3,576.
Now, that’s just the total number of firearm deaths, not firearm deaths at apartment complexes. However, you don’t have to dig around long on Google to see that there are tons of shootings are apartment complexes every year in Florida, and this is a serious problem.
So, what happens if you get shot at an apartment complex? Are you stuck with the medical bills and the financial consequences of missing work so you could get your gunshot wounds tended to? Well, not necessarily. Florida allows victims to pursue claims against an apartment complex owner when the owner fails to implement reasonable security measures in the face of foreseeable crime. Let’s talk more about that.
When is a Shooting at an Apartment Complex Considered a Result of Negligent Security?
In the realm of personal injury law, a critical aspect that often arises is the concept of negligent security, particularly in cases involving shootings at apartment complexes. Determining when a shooting incident falls under the category of negligent security is essential for understanding liability and pursuing justice for the victims.
Negligent security is a form of premises liability where the owner or manager of a property fails to provide reasonable security measures, leading to a preventable incident, such as a shooting. Several key factors are considered when evaluating if an apartment complex shooting is a result of negligent security:
- Foreseeability of Crime: If the area has a history of criminal activity, particularly violent crimes, it is reasonably expected that the property owner should be aware of such risks. A failure to take appropriate measures in light of known dangers may constitute negligence.
- Adequacy of Security Measures: A successful outcome in a negligent security case often revolves around whether the security measures in place at the time of the violent crime were adequate. This determination includes assessing security measures in place, like the presence and functionality of security cameras, whether there were functioning gates in place, whether there was proper lighting in common areas, and whether there were any security personnel patrolling the property. If security measures were insufficient, improperly maintained, or completely absent, this could indicate that the property owner was negligent.
- Breach of Duty of Care: Property owners owe a duty of care to their residents and guests. This duty includes implementing and maintaining reasonable security measures to protect them from foreseeable harm. Essentially, a breach occurs when a property owner shirks their duty to put reasonable security measures in place when it’s foreseeable that crime could occur on the property. In other words, they can’t just ignore the risk that someone will get violently attacked on the property.
- Causation: Causation says there needs to be a direct link between the property owner’s failure to implement reasonable security measures and the shooting. If the shooting could have been prevented or its likelihood significantly reduced by appropriate security measures, this points towards negligent security.
- Damages: Finally, as with other personal injury claims, the victim must have suffered damages, which could be physical, emotional, or financial, as a result of the incident.
When these elements are present, a shooting at an apartment complex may well fall under negligent security. In such cases, the property owner or manager may be held legally responsible for the harm suffered by the victims. It’s essential for victims to seek legal counsel to navigate these complex legal waters and advocate for their rights and entitlements.