By Joe Messa
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, has filed, with the help of personal injury attorneys, a claim seeking damages from the homeowners’ association of the gated community where her son was killed in February. The 17-year-old boy was shot to death by neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, while he was walking back from a convenience store. Trayvon was staying at a home in the gated community with his father when he was killed by Zimmerman. The boy was unarmed at the time.
According to court documents, Ms. Fulton is asking for more than $75,000 in damages due to the wrongful death of her son from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of American, the insurance company that covers the Retreat at Twin Lakes homeowners association where Trayvon was shot.
Ms. Fulton and her former husband, Trayvon’s father, also filed a claim with the state’s Crimes Compensation Trust Fund seeking emergency crime-victim assistance. The fund provides payouts of up to $50,000 to assist families of victims of crime with expenses, such as lost wages, medical care, funerals, and counseling services.
According to attorneys, both the homeowners association and their insurer could be held liable for the death of Trayvon Martin in a civil suit. Attorneys point to a newsletter sent to residents by the association designating Zimmerman as the point of contact for residents who had been a victim of a crime. The newsletter, sent the same month that Trayvon was killed, featured a heading “Neighborhood Watch,” with a message directing residents to first call police and then “please contact our Captain, George Zimmerman … so he can be aware and help address the issue with other residents.” This could lead to the homeowners association being held liable for Trayvon’s death because they recognized and endorsed Zimmerman as a person of authority.
In other cases, homeowners associations have been held responsible for injuries to children and other personal injuries. Depending on the circumstances, courts could find that the homeowners association has a duty to keep common areas and facilities safe. Therefore, if someone is seriously injured or killed on their property due to negligence on the behalf of the association, a lawsuit may be filed.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving personal injuries and injuries to children. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If your child has suffered any type of personal injury or a wrongful death, contact the personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More