Misunderstanding at Mall Leads to Gunfire
During the commission of a crime, there are many innocent victims. There are direct victims against whom the crime is committed, and indirect victims of a crime. For example, during a robbery or a convenience store, the clerk is the direct victim, while the innocent bystanders may be indirect victims if they sustain injuries.
Innocent victims are not immune from injury during the commission of a crime. In fact, stray bullets cause injuries all the time. The Orlando Sentinel reported on one such occasion where a third-party was injured during a crime. In this situation, Alejandro Laureano was shopping with his family at the mall on West Vine Street. While shopping, one of Laureano’s stepsons whistled to get his attention. Fabric Buteau and Walter Jeralds thought the step-son’s beckoning whistle was intended for them. The Orlando Sentinel reported that an argument ensued between one of the stepsons and Buteau and Jeralds. The argument became heated and the parties exchanged blows. After the fight, the Sentinel reported that Buteau and Jeralds went to their car and fired shots into the mall, injuring a woman and an elderly man.
Crime and Premise Liability
Florida law states that a property owner can be liable for injuries sustained during a crime committed on his/her property, provided that the crime was “foreseeable.” However, before the property owner can be held liable for criminal acts of another on his or her premise, the injured party must be on the owner’s property legally.
If the injured party is on the property owner’s land as an invitee, the property owner owes the highest duty of care. In particular, the property owner owes the duty to invitees to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and correct or warn of dangers that the owner knew or should have known of which the injured party was unaware. This opens the property owner up to liability for injuries to invitees during the commission of crimes. Although it is a bit confusing, it can be summed up as follows: if the property owner knew of past crimes that were similar in nature to the crime that injured the invitee, and which similarly occurred on the property, then the property owner could be liable for the injuries to the invitee.
If You’re Injured During the Commission of a Crime
Sustaining any type of injury can be frightening and can leave you in a state of shock. However, being injured during the commission of a crime can present a whole different level of fear, stress, and shock.
If you or a loved one has been injured during a commission of a crime on another’s property, contact Boone & Davis today for a consultation of your case. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf to help you secure payment for your injuries. Reach out to us today to begin.