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Trayvon Martin death: Who else may be responsible?

In the ongoing investigation into the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, people have been focused on the fault of the man who shot the unarmed 17-year-old. The debate between whether or not the Neighborhood Watch captain acted in self-defense has been at the crux of the argument. Some, however, have begun to expand their view of who else may be at fault for the man's wrongful death.

What some people are suggesting is that the homeowners association of where the shooting happened could be held responsible. According to newsletters, George Zimmerman was endorsed by the association and was allowed to act as a free police officer for the neighborhood. It can be argued, then, that the group enabled the shooting with this endorsement.

There are a number of reasons the victim's family may choose to pursue charges against the association. The first is that if a judge or jury legally determines that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, he would be protected from a lawsuit under the Florida "Stand Your Ground" statute.

Secondly, the association may be a more lucrative target because of their insurance policies and assets. This would potentially allow the victim's family to be awarded, and collect, a higher amount than if they filed a suit against only the man who shot the young man.

As devastating as this story is, it is important that the families of wrongful death victims are properly compensated. There is no amount of money that can undo the horrific damage that has been done, but holding the people at fault accountable is important. Pursuing claims against all the negligent parties who contributed to a person's death may prevent the same tragedy from happening again.

Source: Businessweek, "Homeowner association could be sued in Martin case," Micke Schneider and Tony Winton, April 9, 2012

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