Yes, but the real question is who should you sue. Far too many victims and families of deceased victims don’t understand the full extent of their legal options following a shooting. If you or a loved one suffered injury or even death due to a firearm shooting, your first point of contact would likely be with local law enforcement. Law enforcement’s job is to find the individual responsible for the shooting so that the State (State Attorney or District Attorney) can criminally prosecute that individual. While the government pursues a criminal case against the shooter and any other wrongdoers, you may still pursue a civil lawsuit to recover financial damages for your loss. Just because you or your family has a prosecutor fighting for you in criminal court does not mean that you cannot hire a personal injury lawyer to fight for your financial compensation in civil court.
Who Can I Sue for Injuries or Death Caused by a Shooting?
While you can always pursue a lawsuit against the actual shooter, often, these individuals do not have the financial means to pay a judgment. Instead, we must look to others who may be responsible. Generally, the location where the incident occurred, whether it be an apartment complex, parking lot, bar, or nightclub, may be responsible for the injuries sustained. While the owner, manager, or security firm protecting the establishment where the shooting occurred may not have pulled the trigger, they may be responsible for failing to provide adequate security.
In these cases, we must prove that the person responsible for the safety of individuals at the location failed in their job by allowing the shooting to occur. It is our job to investigate the facts and discover what the property owner knew or should have known about the crime in their area and the risks posed to patrons. More often than not, the property owner is not the only party responsible to the shooting. The commercial tenant, security company, or even the property manager may be responsible.
Some common examples of situations where the negligence of a property owner or manager causes the shooting:
- Failing to provide trained security personnel
- Failure to alert the authorities in a timely manner
- Failure to warn patrons of prior incidents of violence
- Failure to implement and utilize firearm detection devices such as metal detectors
- Failure to warn tenants of the dangerous individuals who frequent or even live at the property
Some common examples of situations where the negligence of a security company causes the shooting:
- Faulty alarm system
- Failure to employ licensed and properly trained security personnel
- Failure to implement additional security measures such as the guard gates
- Failure to notify law enforcement of a danger in a timely manner
What Legal Rights do I have as the Victim of a Shooting?
While the victim of a crime is generally entitled to certain enumerated rights and protections in the criminal justice system, there are no such rights in the civil justice system. If the victim does not take civil action against the shooter or the other responsible parties they will forgo any opportunity to secure a financial recovery through the civil justice system. While there is financial restitution in criminal court, it is hardly ever paid (especially by someone who is about to spend several years in prison) and does not include compensation for many types of damages that are permitted in civil court.
If you or a loved one suffered severe injury or even death due to a shooting, you would likely be entitled to an award for money award damages. These damages or money are awarded for such things as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and permanent disfigurement.
It is tough to navigate a negligent security lawsuit without the representation of a personal injury lawyer who has significant experience working on shooting cases. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we are former criminal prosecutors who understand both the criminal and civil justice system. We work hard to ensure that shooting victims recover every single dollar that they are entitled to. Call Prosper Shaked today for a free and confidential consultation.