Florida Homeowners Coverage for Gun Related Injuries and Deaths

Florida children are injured and killed by guns. What happens if a child is negligently or purposely shot? Does Florida homeowners coverage apply? Well, in the words of many lawyers past and present, “it depends”. As such, there is not clear cut answer for every case. As such it is important to hire a Jacksonville, Florida personal injury attorney to advise you and guide you through this most difficult and emotional issue.

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Some child injuries and death result from crimes and others result from carelessness and negligence. It is impossible to create a complete crime free society; however it is possible to be more careful with guns, store them in a locked container, and keep the guns out of the hands of our children.

The starting place for any case of this nature is the insurance policy. Is there an exclusion for guns? Is there an exclusion for criminal acts? What is the exact language that is used?

Exclusion clauses, like an intentional or criminal act exclusion clause / or gun exclusion clause, are generally considered contrary to the fundamental protective purposes of insurance. As such, Courts will closely evaluate these clauses to make sure that there meaning is clear, concise, and understandable to an ordinary person.

In Hyrnkiw v. Allstate, 844 So.2d 739 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 2003), the Plaintiff was shot by the son of the homeowners. The Plaintiff claimed that the homeowners were negligent in their supervision of the son and their supervision of the gun itself. The trial court ruled in favor of the homeowners insurance company (Allstate). Allstate argued that there was no insurance coverage for this incident due to an exclusion for intentional acts of the homeowners and / or their son. The Fifth District Court of Appeal agreed and ruled that there was no insurance coverage. While the homeowners could still be sued for negligence and the Plaintiff could pursue damages for his injuries, there was no insurance to cover the damages / injuries. While I do not particularly like the ruling in Hyrnkiw, I recognize and understand the rationale. Hyrnkiw does not apply to every case and every policy. As such, if you or a family member has been injured by a gun, it is important to consult with a Jacksonville Florida personal injury attorney to determine your respective rights including the applicability of homeowners insurance.