Fatal Shooting at Lexington Apartment Complex

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Injuries

Police investigating a deadly shooting at an apartment complex on Quinton Court have no suspects and no leads.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 300 block of Quinton Court. When officers arrived at the scene, they found a 38-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

Detectives are asking residents in the area to please check their home surveillance video and contact the Lexington Police Department if they have any footage that could help in the investigation.

Landowner Duty of Care

Unless police investigators catch a big break (e.g. someone brags about committing this act in a public place), this crime will probably never be solved. However, survivors can still partner with a Lexington personal injury attorney and obtain justice. A civil action also means financial compensation for their financial and emotional losses. No criminal court case can accomplish these things.

Premises liability claims, such as third-party assault claims, begin with a duty of care. Kentucky law ties the duty of care to the relationship between the property owner and injury victim, as follows:

  • Invitee: Apartment tenants are invitees. Tenants have specific permission to be on the property. Furthermore, they pay rent, which benefits the owner. Most other individuals, such as potential tenants, government workers, and Uber drivers, are invitees as well, under the same analysis. Since the relationship is close, if the victim was an invitee, the owner had a duty of care to make the premises reasonably safe.
  • Licensee: Social guests of apartment tenants or other invitees are usually licensees. Licensees have general permission to be on the property, but there’s no financial benefit to the owner. Since the relationship isn’t as close, owners have a lesser duty of care in these situations.
  • Trespasser: If you aren’t an invitee or a licensee, you are a trespasser. These individuals have no permission to be on the property and their presence doesn’t benefit the owner. Although certain legal doctrines protect certain child victims, owners usually have no duty of care in these situations.

Other premises liability claims that involve similar legal principles include falls, swimming pool drownings, and dog bites.

Knowledge of Hazard

Theoretical liability, or a duty of care, is only part of the puzzle. A Lexington personal injury lawyer must also prove practical responsibility, which in this case means proving knowledge of a negligent security hazard.

To be clear, individuals are responsible for assaults, murders, and other illegal acts. However, if the property owner could have prevented the tragedy, the property owner must also face the music. Lax security often creates a breeding ground for criminal activity. Negligent security examples include:

  • Broken Equipment: State law usually requires deadbolt locks on doors as well as locks on accessible windows. Failure to provide such basic security measures clearly violates the duty of reasonable care.
  • Unsafe Common Areas: These problems are quite common at many apartment complexes not only in Lexington, but throughout the state. Issues include burned-out lights, propped-open gates, broken cameras, and nonworking gates.
  • Inadequate Security Level: Usually, the duty of care requires a level of security comparable to the overall threat, as discussed below. For example, if the apartments are in a relatively quiet area, relatively light security, like fences and cameras, might be the only requirement.

Direct evidence of actual knowledge, like a security report that shows some gaps in the system or a tenant’s report of a broken gate, usually surface during a lawsuit’s discovery process. So, if a Lexington personal injury lawyer settles a case before filing suit, the best evidence maybe unavailable.

Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known) usually involves the time-notice rule. For example, the longer a security gate is broken, the more likely it is that the owner should have known about it, and should have fixed it.

Foreseeability of Injury

This issue normally isn’t too important in dog bites and some of the other aforementioned premises liability claims. But it’s important in negligent security claims.

Basically, foreseeability of injury means possibility of injury. As mentioned, if the property was in a low-crime area, a vicious murder is probably an unforeseeable injury, although a domestic assault-related injury might be foreseeable. Things are different if the apartments are in a high-crime area. Other evidence on this point includes prior similar incidents at that location, the property’s specific location (e.g. a secluded or accessible area), and prior similar incidents in the general area.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.