Hit-and-Run Crash Follows Deadly Shooting at Tampa Apartment Complex
It was an eventful night for all the wrong reasons for residents in and around the Avesta Del Rio Apartments in Northeast Tampa.
Investigators believed that a person or persons fatally shot a man, fled the scene in a blue sedan, crashed into a black sedan, and then fled on foot. Emergency responders rushed the shooting victim, identified only as a 33-year-old man, to a nearby hospital where he was later declared dead. Two occupants in the aforementioned black sedan were also transported to an area hospital.
In a news conference, Major Frank Losat said authorities were still looking for clues.
Landowner Liability for Violent Acts
Store owners, restaurant owners, apartment complex owners, and other property owners might be financially responsible for robberies, physical assaults, sexual assaults, and other crimes which occur on these premises. Tampa personal injury lawyers typically use the following three-part analysis to evaluate such claims.
First, the owner must have a legal duty. In Florida, the extent of the duty usually depends on the relationship between the owner and victim.
Most Florida victims are invitees. They have permission to be on the land, and their presence benefits the owner in some way. That benefit could be economic, such as paying rent, or the noneconomic benefit of social interaction.
If the victim was an invitee, the owner had a duty of reasonable care. That’s one of the highest legal responsibilities under Florida law.
Other victims are licensees (permission but no benefit) or trespassers (no permission and no benefit). The owner’s duty is lower in these situations.
Next, the owner must have known about the issue which led to the injury. Regarding third party crimes, these issues normally involve negligent security, such as:
- Burned-out or missing security lights,
- Defective or nonexistent security fences,
- Non-working or nonexistent security cameras, and
- Inadequate security force (g. employing unarmed guards when armed guards are necessary).
Victim/plaintiffs can use direct evidence to establish actual knowledge or circumstantial evidence to prove constructive knowledge (should have known).
Finally, the victim’s injury must have been a foreseeable result of the lax security. “Foreseeable” usually means “possible” as opposed to “inevitable” or even “likely.” So, the standard of proof is rather low.
Evidence of foreseeability includes things like the nature of the business (banks are more vulnerable than ice cream stores), prior similar incidents at that location, and prior similar incidents in the vicinity.
In most jurisdictions, hit-and-run drivers are rarely prosecuted successfully in criminal court. The burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, is too high. Normally, prosecutors must produce an eyewitness who saw the crash from start to finish and got a good look at the driver.
But in civil court, the burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Therefore, if an attorney can identify the vehicle’s owner, that might be enough. It is more likely than not that the owner was driving the vehicle at a particular time.
Therefore, to obtain compensation for victims, attorneys focus on tracking down the vehicle. This process includes talking to witnesses who may have seen the vehicle a few blocks away from the scene. Attorneys also meticulously review surveillance camera footage and ask questions at local body shops.
Damages in a vehicle collision claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Wrongful death claims often involve similar compensation, but there are some procedural differences.
Rely on Dedicated Lawyers
Generally, where there is a wrong, there is a legal remedy. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.