Recent Miami Shooting Raises Important Liability Questions

A 12-year-old girl and adult woman are both recovering after suffering injuries in a shooting at an apartment complex in Miami-Dade County on August 17, 2021. A South Florida’s Local 10 News article recounted what transpired and how the innocent bystanders were hurt as they were caught in the crossfire of a possible gang dispute. According to the Opa-locka Police Department, a fight erupted in an intersection near the apartment building and its on-site playground. Several gunmen fired their weapons before fleeing the scene, injuring the girl who was playing in the outdoor space. Another shot broke the window in one of the apartment units, causing injuries to the woman. 

Police were able to make an arrest after reviewing surveillance video, so having the identity of the offender would enable victims to proceed with legal action to recover monetary damages. However, the circumstances indicate that these individuals may also have other legal options. While you can rely on a Miami crime victims lawyer to provide details about liability in a shooting, some answers to common questions may help.

Can I pursue the shooter? If you suffered injuries after being shot, you can definitely proceed to take legal action against the wrongdoer. The problem is that this person may be imprisoned if convicted of a crime, a phenomenon referred to in the legal field as being “judgment proof”: You cannot collect damages from someone who has no income or assets to satisfy the judgment, which is often the case with someone in prison. It is still possible to recover, but the challenges are considerable.

What are my rights involving a property owner? A judgment-proof party is less of a concern if you develop based upon a different theory of liability, which enables you to proceed against the property owner where the shooting took place. Florida property owners are required to maintain the premises in safe condition and free from foreseeable hazards, duties which are based upon negligence.

How might a property owner be negligent in a shooting case? A party that owns, operates, or maintains control over the premises may breach the duty of care by not implementing adequate security. In the presence of known criminal activity, a property owner may be negligent by failing to:

  • Install security cameras;
  • Employ a security guard;
  • Implement auto-locking exterior doors; and,
  • Ensure the premises are well-lit.

What compensation is available for shooting victims? A claim for negligent security falls under premises liability laws in Florida, so you may be entitled to recover a range of monetary damages. Examples include compensation for:

  • Your medical costs;
  • Lost income and business opportunities;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Consequences for your quality of life and personal relationships; and,
  • Many more.

Set up a Free Consultation with a Miami Crime Victims Attorney

For additional answers to questions about liability for criminal activities, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA right away. We can schedule a no-cost case review at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.

Florida Justice Association
The National Center for Victims of Crime
outh Florida Legal Guide
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