Recent news headlines make clear that gun violence can occur anywhere at any time. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, more Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year.
The responsibility for a shooting almost always lies primarily with the shooter, and the criminal justice system can address the shooter's culpability. However, there are also circumstances in which property owners may be legally liable for failing to provide adequate security. This is called premises liability.
What Is Premises Liability?
In personal injury law, premises liability is a legal doctrine that holds property owners responsible for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on their property. This includes the responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable risks of harm and provide adequate security.
This means property owners must ensure their properties are not used as sites for criminal activity or put people at risk of serious personal injury or death due to gun violence. In this blog, we will discuss some important points regarding premises liability in cases involving shooting incidents in Florida.
Factors That Determine Whether a Property Owner Is Liable
When it comes to premises liability for injuries caused by a shooting in Florida, there are several factors that must be considered when determining whether a property owner is liable. These may include:
- The foreseeability of the harm
- The duty owed to visitors or guests on the property
- Any actions taken by the property owner to prevent such an incident from occurring
In addition, courts may also look at what steps were taken by law enforcement or other security personnel before or during an incident as well as whether any warnings were given about potential dangers onsite. Ultimately, if it can be proven that a property owner failed to act reasonably in preventing foreseeable risks of personal injury due to gun violence, they could face civil liability for any resulting damages.
Property owners may also be liable for personal injuries caused by a shooting in Florida if they failed to investigate or adequately address any complaints of criminal activity on their property. For example, if a property owner had been made aware of previous threats of gun violence on the premises and did not take reasonable steps to address it, such as:
- Increase security personnel on site
- Install surveillance cameras and motion sensors
- Utilize a visitor sign-in policy with ID verification measures
- Post warning signs about possible dangers on the premises
- Make sure all buildings are properly lit and locked after hours
Steps to Take If You Have Been the Victim of a Shooting on Someone Else’s Property
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a shooting on someone else's property, here are a few steps you can take:
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Collect evidence related to the incident such as pictures, videos, and witness accounts
- Document all medical treatments received, including expenses incurred from hospital visits and medications
- Report the shooting incident to law enforcement authorities
- Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand legal rights and options for compensation
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a shooting on someone else’s property, it is important to take steps to protect your rights and seek justice. With over 100 years of combined experience, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Mitchell & West are prepared to help you understand your legal options as you seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact us online or call (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation.