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How To File a Lawsuit After an Apartment Shooting

Crime scene with two evidence markers marking a gun and bullet casings

People rent apartments so they can have shelter and a place to raise their families. They shouldn’t have to worry about getting hurt. But sadly, many apartment complexes are scenes of violent crimes. There have been shootings at apartment complexes in Atlanta, Decatur, Lilburn, Riverdale, East Point, Griffin, and other communities in Georgia.

Families are left to mourn their loved ones who were killed. Survivors of shootings are left to recover as much as possible from their injuries and deal with the resulting trauma as best as they can.

It is always hoped that the police will catch the shooters and prosecute them for their crimes so victims can get justice. But victims and their families are still left to deal with the aftermath of what happened. There are funeral expenses, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Many families struggle to pay all the extra bills they face.

Victims and their families may be able to recover financial compensation if the apartment complex owners and operators failed to provide adequate security.

Here are the general steps involved in filing a lawsuit if you or a loved one was the victim of a shooting at an apartment complex in Georgia.

Talk to an experienced attorney.

Under Georgia law, apartment owners have a duty to protect residents from unreasonable dangers. But proving an apartment owner or operator was negligent can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle premises liability cases involving negligent security. An attorney can review the details of the shooting, answer your questions, and go over your legal rights so you have a clear understanding of your options.

A lawyer will investigate your case.

An attorney will have the resources to take a closer look at the shooting and gather as many facts as possible. This often involves reading police reports and interviewing witnesses. The legal team working for the attorney will check to see if there is a history of violent crime at the apartment complex and talk to victims, if possible.

They will also seek access to internal records of violence at that location and review security practices that were put in place to protect residents. For example, were any criminal background checks of existing tenants done? Is there adequate lighting in parking lots and other areas? Is there fencing to help keep out intruders? Are locks and doors secure?

The insurance company may offer a settlement.

Your lawyer may contact the apartment complex owners and insurance company to discuss possible legal action. Their lawyers may discuss a possible settlement or deny any liability whatsoever.

Your attorney will file a lawsuit.

If no settlement is reached, a lawyer can draft formal documents and file them with the appropriate court. These documents will include a complaint that provides details about the shooting and the harm that was caused, and an explanation of why the defendants (the apartment complex owners or operators) are responsible. The defendants will be delivered a summons and given a chance to officially respond to the lawsuit.

There is a discovery process.

Both sides exchange evidence and witnesses are asked to provide sworn testimony in depositions.

The legal process continues until there is a resolution.

Negotiations may be ongoing and the defendants may agree to settle the case. If no settlement is reached, the case will proceed to trial and a judge or a jury will decide the outcome.

Get Georgia's Power Law Firm on your side

It’s important to get trusted legal advice as soon as possible after an apartment shooting. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is 2 years in Georgia. That sounds like a long time. But evidence can be lost or destroyed, and witnesses can forget important details the more time that goes by.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. understand the impact a shooting can have on victims and their families. We build strong cases and fight for justice. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us to schedule a free consultation.

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