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Apartment Gunshot Injuries and Death: A Legal Guide

Aerial view of Atlanta at night.

Neglected apartment complexes are often used by criminals to target innocent individuals and their valuables or autonomy. These encounters may turn violent, leading to severe wounds or loss of life.

Just recently a man was found shot to death at a northwest Atlanta apartment complex. This is but one example of many shootings that happen frequently in the Atlanta area.

Whether an attack was premeditated and targeted or a spontaneous event that escalated into violence, shootings can leave their victims seriously wounded and traumatized.

A survivor of gun violence in an apartment complex may have the right to file an inadequate security claim if it is discovered the property owner knew about prior security issues but did nothing to resolve them. If a victim passes away, the surviving family may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

We strongly recommend you review your legal options with an experienced inadequate security lawyer. Inadequate/negligent security cases are complex and many property owners will not respect an injured party’s request for information without a legal representative backing them.

Gun Violence and Shooting Deaths in Georgia

On average, more than 1,500 people are killed by guns in Georgia each year. With 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people, Georgia has the 17th-highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S. Roughly 40% of all gun deaths are homicides.

Firearms are the number one cause of death among children and teens in Georgia. At least 128 teens and children were lost to gun violence in 2023.

Gun violence also affects Black communities the most. In the U.S., Black people are 10 times more likely to be killed by a gun than white people.

How Common Are Apartment Complex Shootings?

Specific stats for gun violence and shootings are unavailable by location type. But an AJC reporting series found that out of the more than 250 “chronically dangerous” apartment complexes investigated, 162 accounted for 20% of all homicides in Metro Atlanta.

These properties are severely neglected by their owners and managers. Their decrepit state allows non-residents to trespass and commit violence without much repercussion. In the process, innocent people endure harassment, threats, assaults, and shootings.

If a loved one is shot in an apartment complex, it’s important to act quickly. Crucial evidence must be gathered and preserved. Even if the shooter is never found, property owners can be held accountable if there is evidence of poor security and neglectful practices.

How Shooting Victims or Surviving Family Members Can Prove a Business Is At Fault

Property owners are supposed to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of everyone who visits their venue or place of business. Unfortunately, some owners cut corners and then try to avoid liability when someone gets seriously injured or killed as a result.

Police reports, security camera footage, witness testimony, internal emails and messages sent between apartment complex employees and managers — all of it must be demanded and reviewed for compelling evidence.

A premises liability lawyer can help speed up the process and quickly resolve any issues that come up during the investigation phase.

Here are five key findings that must be made to show how an allegedly negligent property owner failed in their legal duty to protect people on their property:

  1. Prior Crimes: The incident that led to the shooting injury or death probably didn’t happen in isolation. Other crimes in the area may have happened beforehand that the apartment complex managers knew about or should have known about but didn’t take any steps to address or prevent. An open records request to the local police department can show prior incidents in the area and provide evidence that increased security measures were necessary.
  1. Internal Reports: The apartment complex may have reports, messages, or notes about previous crimes in the area or issues within the property. Staff may have taken notice or a concerned resident may have filed a complaint. If the property owners ignored these reports, this may also be admissible as evidence of neglect.
  1. Inadequate Security: A basic standard of care must be met by property owners in terms of securing and protecting an apartment complex and its tenants. Broken gates and fences, unlocked doors, poor lighting, damaged buildings, and lack of functioning security cameras are just several examples of inadequate security measures. By comparing the defendant apartment complex to a similar one with better security measures, one can show how negligence contributed to the shooting incident.
  1. Prior Victims: Police reports can also reveal prior victims of similar crimes at the apartment complex or in the area. Their testimony will be vital in further proving there are security issues that the property owners should have been aware of or knew about but did not respond to in an adequate manner.
  1. Security Expert: Security expert advice and testimony may be necessary to establish that the defendant owner breached the standard of care by not having adequate security. They can point out security flaws and provide insight into what the property owners should have done that could have prevented future attacks and violence.

Shootings are highly traumatic events. A business that failed to do everything reasonable to prevent violence on their property needs to be held accountable.

Talk to a Negligent Security Lawyer for Gunshot Injuries and Death

Investigating a negligent security claim is difficult, especially when the victim is recovering from gunshot wounds. In the case of a deadly shooting, the family of the victim will be in mourning. They likely don’t have the time, energy or funds to handle an investigation on their own.

At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we handle negligent security cases for Atlanta shooting victims. Our negligent security lawyers understand the complexities of Georgia law and how to investigate property owners. We get clients the maximum financial compensation they need after suffering life-threatening gunshot injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one.

The best way to figure out what your case might be worth is to take advantage of your free consultation with our dedicated legal team. Put our experience to work for you and let us get started on your case today.

Call (770) 934-8000 or contact us online.

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