Apartment Shooting In Greenville County
Few details were available after Greenville County Sheriff’s responded to the scene of a shooting at an apartment complex on Furman Hall Road.
According to investigators, the victim was transported to the hospital with at least one gunshot wound. Authorities have no suspects and believe the shooting was an isolated incident.
Duty of Care
This legal principle is basically the lawyerly version of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you). Where apartment owners and other property owners are concerned, the “do unto others” part usually pertains to the relationship between the owner and victim.
Apartment tenants generally have apartment leases. Therefore, they have explicit permission to be at that location. They also provide a financial benefit to owners, when they pay their rent. Therefore, owners usually have a duty of reasonable care to provide adequate security. Generally, the level of security must be adequate to protect people. More on that below.
Legally, apartment tenants could be trespassers as well. These individuals don’t have permission to be on the property and don’t benefit the owner. Tenants who overstay their leases and don’t pay rent are trespassers. Since there’s no permission or benefit, apartment owners usually have no duty of care to protect trespassers. Tales of injured burglars who sued homeowners for personal injuries are mostly urban legends.
Some apartment tenants are between these extremes. Perhaps they’re late on rent, or perhaps they have an unregistered pet or are otherwise in violation of their leases. Many leases are so complex and have so much fine print that there’s a good chance even a good tenant is in violation of at least one provision.
A Columbia catastrophic injury attorney must tread very carefully in such cases. The judge could rule the owner had a duty of reasonable care or, because of the violation, the owner had no duty of care at all.
Knowledge of Hazard
Legal duty is the foundation of an apartment shooting or other premises liability claim. However, to obtain compensation, a Columbia personal injury attorney must also prove the owner knew about, or should have known about, the injury-causing defect. In these cases, that defect is usually an inadequate level of security. Most apartments have one of four security levels:
- Passive, which is usually cameras and gates,
- Active, or an on-demand “courtesy patrol” that responds to emergency calls,
- Deterrent, which is an unarmed security guard on the premises, and
- Preventative, or armed live security.
Malefactors often take advantage of lax security to break into apartments, assault tenants, and otherwise cause injury. Foreseeability of injury, which is outlined below, usually determines the proper level of security at a certain apartment complex.
Victim/plaintiffs must establish actual or constructive knowledge (should have known) by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Foreseeability of Injury
This F-word is Legalese for “possibility.” Owners are only liable for damages if the assault or other injury was foreseeable, from their perspectives.
Apartments in high-crime areas require higher security than apartments in relatively quiet neighborhoods. Location matters as well. Apartments on cul-de-sacs are safer than apartments near busy streets. Prior similar incidents at that location or in the vicinity is the final major factor. If an incident happened once, it’s certainly foreseeable, although not necessarily likely, that the same thing could happen again.
Connect With a Tough-Minded Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.