Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Independence Center Mall Shootings and Personal Injury Law

The Independence Center mall made headlines recently for a shooting that occurred there earlier this month. As a personal injury lawyer in Missouri who has handled many crime victim cases, I’d like to outline how the mall could be liable to pay money compensation to the victim of the shooting.

Crime victim cases are based on premises liability. This is a cause of action that arises from someone getting hurt by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. They typically come from slip or trip and falls, but can arise from any kind of dangerous condition. With crime victim cases, the dangerous condition is typically rampant crime. It can also be a known criminal perpetrator. Either way, the key to these cases is notice. The landlord only has a duty to prevent crime if they know, or should know, they have a crime problem.

With the recent Independence Center mall shooting, the mall owners seem to have notice in abundance. An article from KMBC 9 News about the most recent shooting describes several recent events at the mall, including a shootout between two vehicles with an estimate of 30 rounds fired, and a teen shot in the head. The article describes another recent event on New Year’s Eve where a teenager was shot in the leg inside the mall. The story includes a quote from the mall owners stating, “Recently, there has been a string of unfortunate incidents associated with Independence Center.” The level of crime at Independence Center mall most certainly puts them on notice of a crime problem and gives rise to a duty to prevent that crime.

When a business owner is on duty to prevent crime, it must do so reasonably. Reasonableness is typically a question for the jury. In other words, whether a business owner took reasonable precautions against a known crime problem is up to the jury. Independence Center, until recently, did not seem to have reasonable security measures. This is borne out by the fact that crime has continued there unabated for several years. However, in the KMBC 9 News story about the recent spate of shootings, the mall owners are quoted as saying they are adding more security measures, including more security guards and an early curfew for minors. Whether this will prevent future crime is yet to be seen.

Crime victim cases are a unique practice area, but can result in substantial money compensation for victims if the right elements are in place. If you’ve been a crime victim on someone else’s property and are curious about whether you are entitled to money compensation, please don’t hesitate to contact our firm.