Category: Personal Injury

Being shot can be very traumatizing event. As a Miami shooting lawyer, it is something that I see more and more often these days, unfortunately. If you don’t believe me, a simple media search will get you multiple new incidents every week. Because of that, it is critical that you have a plan in place in the event that you are shot in Miami.

Here are some things you should keep in mind if you ever find yourself the victim of a shooting:

Get to a safe place and away from the threat as soon as possible

The first thing to worry about is your safety. If you are the victim of a shooting, the number one thing you need to do is survive. If you don’t look out for yourself, it is likely that no one else around you will be looking out for you under such a stressful situation. Make sure to maintain your situational awareness to the best of your ability, and try to get yourself to a safe place as soon as possible. Most shootings are not mass shootings where the shooter walks in with an intent to kill multiple people. Most shootings are robberies gone wrong, assaults on specific people, or accidents. Because of this, getting to a safe place will not be as daunting as it sounds.

If you are conscious and able call 911

The paramedics will take several minutes to respond, depending on where they are, so the quicker you call them the quicker they will be able to respond with lifesaving first aid. Many gunshot wounds can be devastating. Depending on the caliber and the amount of times you are shot you could be losing a lot of blood. That is why getting emergency medical aid as soon as possible is extremely critical. If no one calls 911, no medical aid may be forthcoming until it is too late. You should never assume that someone else has called 911. You should be the one to call, as soon as possible and provide them with any information they need to get to you as soon as possible. The earlier they can get to you, the higher your chances of survival.

If you are able, apply pressure to the wound to slow down the blood loss

If you have been shot in an extremity, like an arm or a leg, use your clothing to reduce the blood flow to the limb by using it as a tourniquet. Make sure to not apply so much pressure that you cut off all the blood flow to your limb.  Completely cutting of the blood supply to the limb for an extended period of time can cause your tissue to die off. While this is better than dying, it is not ideal if you can avoid it. You wouldn’t want to lose an arm or a leg if you could have survived with all your limbs by applying a bit less pressure.

Here is a great clip on making a makeshift tourniquet:

Tell the police the details of your shooting

Assuming you fell victim to a shooting while going about your lawful life and not while trying to rob a bank, it is critical that you share all the details of what happened with the police. The police will conduct an investigation that could lead to the criminal prosecution of the shooter. While that is only half of the justice equation when you’ve fallen victim to a shooting, it is a very important half. That is because the police investigation could assist your lawyer in getting you justice in the civil realm.

Call a Miami Shooting Lawyer

First off, I know what you’re thinking, what is a shooting lawyer? Is that a guy who kicks down doors and shoots my problems away? No, not exactly. A shooting lawyer is a lawyer that handles shooting injuries. If you’re in Miami you’d want to call a Miami shooting lawyer. This is because a Miami shooting lawyer would be most familiar with the court system in Miami, and also the way the different police departments operate.

But, why would you need a Miami shooting lawyer if you’ve fallen victim of a shooting in Miami?

Glad you asked. Most shootings are not only the fault of the person actually committing the shooting itself, but they are also the fault of the property owners in which the shooting took place. For example, let’s say you’re in a store in Miami minding your own business when a person comes in to rob the store. Let’s say the robber gets upset and shoots you, a customer, while the robbery is in progress. Chances are that this was not the first violent crime to happen at that store. Chances are that the owners of the store knew that this shooting was a real possibility. Chances are that they did nothing to help prevent or minimize the incident, even though they knew that it was reasonably expected to happen.

Under Florida law that means that the store-owner is responsible for your injury. That means that the store owner would be responsible for making you whole, which is the lawyer way of saying that they have to pay you enough money to make up for the physical, emotional, and financial losses that you suffered as a result of being a victim of a shooting in their store. Because that is what we call “civil law,” the police or prosecutors can’t help you with that. The only people who can help you with that are lawyers that handle these kinds of cases. That’s why after you’re safe, and followed every other tip in this list you should call a Miami shooting lawyer to help get your life back on track.

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Most people don’t think of hiring a gunshot victim lawyer while they are recovering from a shooting injury. This is because most people don’t know that if you’ve been shot through no fault of your own, you have rights and may be entitled to have the responsible parties compensate you for your injuries. While most of the time the person who shoots another does not have the money to make that person whole, there are usually other parties who are also at fault for a shooting incident.

A gunshot victim lawyer will tell you that the property owner may be responsible for your shooting injury

In Florida, property owners have a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. That means that they have a duty to make sure that people on their property do not fall victim to reasonably foreseeable acts of violence. Put simply, if you’re a property owner and you know that everyone around you is getting robbed, shot, and murdered, you have a responsibility to enact reasonable security measures to make sure that that doesn’t happen to the people that visit your property.

If you’re trespassing on someone else’s property you’ll likely not to have a right to compensation from the property owner

In Florida, whether you’re entitled to compensation from a property owner if you’re shot on the property depends on many factors. One of those factors is whether you were invited on the property, or whether you were trespassing. If you go onto someone else’s property without permission and are injured there, your ability to receive compensation is substantially diminished. In that case there may not be much that a gunshot victim lawyer can do for you. On the other hand, if you’re on the property under invitation, or for a legitimate business purpose (like buying something), then your ability to receive compensation will be much higher.

If you’re actively engaged in violent/illegal conduct at the time of the shooting you’re likely not to have a right to compensation from the property owner

If you were shot because you were trying to rob a store, trying to kill someone, or engaged in a drug trafficking operation that went wrong, you are likely not entitled to compensation. Not only are your legal options limited here, as they should be, but you’d also be hard pressed to find a competent gunshot victim lawyer to represent you in that case. Frankly, any lawyer that would take a case like that should be shot.

If you’re shot on public property, such as a the beach or a public roadway, you’re likely not going to have a right to compensation

The laws governing public property are slightly different from those governing private property. As such, your ability to get compensation if you’re shot on a city street, for example, is very limited. Also, in Florida there is something called sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a law that protects public bodies like cities and counties from liability from certain wrongs. We could go in-depth here as to why if you’re shot on the street you’ll have a hard time recovering, but instead we’ll just leave it at that. Suffice it to say that the law in Florida in that respect makes it almost impossible for a gunshot victim lawyer to help you out.

If your injury is minor you’re likely not going to be compensated

The law compensates you for injuries caused as a result of someone else’s fault. The more severe the injury, the greater the recovery. Bringing a claim for compensation in the civil justice system is a long an expensive process. If your injury is not severe enough, the recovery will not be sufficient to justify the costs and time of litigation. As a result, if you have been shot but your injury is not severe, you should consider yourself lucky and move on with your life.

If you’ve been shot while on someone else’s property you should consider hiring a gunshot victim lawyer. These cases can be difficult to prosecute, and time is of the essence.

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out what a lawsuit for this kind of case is about, feel free to check out our post on the subject.

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If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of a shooting incident in Miami you may have considered the possibility of bringing a lawsuit. While you may be vaguely familiar with how a lawsuit works, you will likely not be familiar with the intricacies of a shooting lawsuit. If you’re considering bringing a shooting lawsuit, you should know that the lawsuit will be broken up into these parts:

Filing the shooting lawsuit

The first step in the lawsuit process will be to file the actual shooting lawsuit. A lawsuit is just a piece of paper that sets out the allegations in the case. In a shooting lawsuit, the paperwork will allege that the defendant failed to meet its standard of care, resulting in your injuries. The specifics of the allegations will depend on what the Defendant knew or should have known at the time, and the ways in which the Defendant failed to act to keep you safe. Once this paper is filed in court and served on the Defendant the lawsuit has officially started.

Discovery

After the shooting lawsuit is filed, the discovery process begins. Discovery is what lawyers call the process used to gather information about the lawsuit that may be in the possession of the parties or other entities. In Florida this process includes requests for production, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and depositions. This process is governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. It is during this process that the lawyers can information that may otherwise not been available before the shooting lawsuit was filed. Things that are commonly obtained during this process include: surveillance video of the incident, internal policies and procedures of the Defendant, and admissions of fact regarding the incident.

Mediation

Mediation is a step of the process where the parties agree to meet and see if they can resolve the issues in the lawsuit without the need for a trial. A mediator will usually be chosen by all the parties in order to facilitate this process. A mediator is simply a neutral person who is trained in negotiation whose job is to facilitate the negotiations among the parties to see if a resolution can be reached. Mediation is strictly confidential, and nothing that is said during the mediation can be used at trial.

Trial

Trial is the culmination of the shooting lawsuit. If the parties cannot come to an agreement before trial as to who is at fault and how much money should be given to the person bringing the shooting lawsuit, the parties will take the case to trial. Trial in Florida is almost always done before a jury. The jury is a pool of people from the community chosen by the parties to decide issues such as who is at fault, and if the Defendant is at fault how much money should be awarded to the victim of the shooting. Most shooting lawsuits resolve before getting to this point.

Appeal

Regardless of who wins at trial there will usually be an appeal. An appeal is a way for the losing side to take the case up to a higher court and try to get a new trial. Unless someone made a serious mistake during the trial, appeals typically fail. But an appeal can take a year or more to resolve, and in the meantime you will not see any compensation if you won at trial.

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If you’ve been shot in Miami you will find yourself in a roller-coaster of police, medical providers, pain, suffering, and medical bills.  Most people who are shot in Miami know that there will be a criminal investigation, and hopefully the person who shot them will be held accountable in the criminal justice system. Other than that, most people do not know what other remedies are available to them if they are shot in Miami.

Here are some things that you should know if you’re shot in Miami.

The police and prosecution can only help you as far as the criminal justice system goes

The prosecutors and the police will do what they can to help you get justice in the criminal justice system. In laymen terms that means that they will prosecute the person who shot you and try to put them in jail for what they did to you. While that is definitely a helpful measure of justice, that will do nothing to help you regain your mobility, pay your medical bills, and compensate you for the pain and suffering that you went through and may continue to go through. This is because the criminal justice system isn’t set up to make you whole, it is set up to punish the person who injured you. In the best of cases in the criminal system you can expect that the person who shot you will be punished to some extent, and nothing more than that. Your medical bills, your loss of employment, your lack of mobility, and every other aspect of your injury will be something that you would have to deal with, without any help from the police or prosecutors. The system is just not built for that.

If you were shot in Miami on private property, the property owner may have to compensate you for what happened to you

All is not lost, however. If you were shot in Miami while on private property, like for example, a Walmart or McDonald’s, or even a housing complex, the property owner may have to pay you for your losses. This is because Florida law requires that property owners take reasonable measures to keep these kinds of incidents from happening on their property. If you’ve ever been somewhere and you’ve seen security guards, prominently displayed cameras, lighting, etc., you have witnessed the kind of reasonable measures that property owners are expected to take. The most common example is that of a night-club or bar where you have one or more bouncers to ensure the safety of the customers.

Unlike the criminal system, the civil justice system is perfectly equipped to hold the property owner accountable for his/her failure to provide adequate security. Under the civil system you are entitled to receive money for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. This means that if the property owner’s failure to establish reasonable security measures contributed to you being shot, you should receive money from the property owner to make you whole.

Your shooting was likely preventable and avoidable, if the property owner had done the right thing

Unfortunately, the great majority of shootings in Miami could have been avoided or prevented had the property had the property owner put on reasonable security measures. There are way too many shootings happening on or around the same properties. If these property owners spend some of their business profits to add security guards, cameras, and proper lighting, a lot of these shootings would never take place in their property.

Most property owners do not do the right thing when it comes to protecting their patrons and tenants

Most property owners, however, do not do the right thing when it comes to protecting their patrons and tenants. This is because additional security measures affect their bottom line. If they have to pay a security guard, that is money that has to come out of the business profit margin. More money for security means less money in the pocket of the property owners. It is sad that we live in a world where people and companies are willing to risk people’s life and limb in order to save a couple of bucks, but that is the world we live in. This profits-over-people mentality leads to countless deaths and shooting injuries.  

While the prosecution and police are there to hold the shooter criminally accountable, there is no government body that is set up to help you hold the property owner civilly accountable

If you’ve been shot in Miami, you know that the police and prosecutors are available to help. In fact, those two bodies are designed for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting crimes. But you’d be surprised to learn that there is no government body that is set up to help you hold the property owners accountable if you are shot in Miami. There are no government civil prosecutors or police for that. You’re literally on your own.

But that’s not entirely accurate. While there are no government bodies that are set up to help you get the money that you deserve for your loss, there are civil lawyers who sue on behalf of people who are injured in shootings. We at Cornish Hernandez Gonzalez handle these kinds of injury cases and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being shot while on private property, we can help. Do not hesitate to give us a call or fill out the form.

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We wanted to start this blog on verdicts and settlements as a tool to assist attorneys value their cases. These awards do not mean that your personal injury case will have the same value as each of the cases mentioned below, but, by aggregating these verdicts and settlements, we begin to get a general idea what juries and adjusters may do. We also learn about some of the defense verdicts out there, which helps us understand which arguments and factual combinations are least effective.  Today we bring you a negligent security verdict.

Trying cases to a jury is an art, not a science. Therefore, what you are able to obtain for your client is largely related to your jury, the facts of your case, and your ability to put together a passionate and persuasive story. May we all try more cases to juries, for receiving an award from your peers is the best kind of justice.

PREMISES LIABILITY-NEGLIGENT SECURITY

NEARLY $1,000,000 AWARDED BY FLORIDA JURY TO A MAN ROBBED AT WAFFLE HOUSE

Facts: On April 19, 2014, Steve Long was at a Waffle House in Ft. Myers when he was attacked and robbed by three assailants. Plaintiff argued that Waffle House lacked security in an area known for rampant crime. The restaurant argued that Mr. Long was negligent for refusing to give the assailants his money or car keys, and denied that the area was known for crime. The Defense also raised questions as to Mr. Long’s credibility as a result of some contradictory testimony about the incident.

Injuries: Mr. Long suffered facial fractures and minor traumatic brain injury.

Award/Settlement: The jury found Waffle House liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries and awarded $907,212.

Venue: U.S. District Court, Fort Myers

Cause of Action: Negligent Security

Case: Long v. East Coast Waffles, 2:16-cv-00322-PAM-MRM

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