Homicides at Apartment Complexes
If you have lost a loved one to a homicide at an apartment complex, you are likely struggling with grief and a host of other emotions. You may also have practical considerations to face, such as how you will be able to pay rent, pay for groceries, pay for the funeral, and pay for any medical costs that your loved one incurred before their untimely death. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis apartment complex safety lawyers can help family members dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s tragic loss. In many cases, it may be appropriate to bring a wrongful death claim against the apartment owner or manager. With 32 attorneys with excellent credentials and over 100 staff members, we are the largest personal injury law firm based in Tennessee, and we are ready to go to court on your behalf if needed.Wrongful Death Claims Based on Homicides at Apartment Complexes
While apartment complexes cannot always ensure the safety of residents, they are expected to keep the property reasonably safe for tenants and visitors. Each state has its own rules about how much of a duty is owed to tenants. In Tennessee, for example, the state Supreme Court has held that landlords have a special relationship with their tenants that require them to take reasonable steps to protect their safety. When a homicide occurs at an apartment complex, it may be possible to hold the apartment owner responsible for a security failure.
As a family member, you will need to establish that the apartment complex owner knew or should have foreseen that a homicide could occur on the premises. In most cases, this requires you to establish the foreseeability of the homicide. Where the apartment is located and whether there were prior homicides or crimes in that neighborhood or on the premises are factors to be considered when trying to establish the foreseeability of your loved one's death. In general, there must be prior crimes in close proximity to the site, and the prior crimes must also be similar to your loved one's homicide.
The identity of the person who killed your loved one may also make a difference in your case. It may matter whether the killer was a fellow tenant, employee, trespasser, or business invitee. Often, tenants and employees are screened by landlords, so an apartment owner may be responsible for renting to someone or employing someone with a prior history of violent criminal attacks. The circumstances may also affect liability. Did the apartment owner do anything to prevent the criminal act? Were working locks, adequate lighting, and a security system installed?
Wrongful death civil cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. While the prosecution in a criminal case must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a wrongful death civil case must usually be established only by a preponderance of the evidence. Even if a defendant is acquitted of a crime in a criminal case, they or an apartment owner may be held liable in civil court to a family member.
In addition to establishing the apartment owner's negligence, the family member will need to establish their right to bring a claim. Each state follows its own rules about which surviving family members are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.Consult a Skillful Apartment Complex Safety Lawyer in Memphis
Families who suffer the loss of a loved one due to a homicide at an apartment complex should contact the Memphis apartment complex safety attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz. We represent bereaved families throughout Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arkansas, including in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Caruthersville, Haiti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, and Jonesboro. You can contact our office by calling 1-800-LAW-4004 or by completing our online form to set up a free appointment. We can also assist people who need an office safety attorney or guidance with another personal injury claim.