If you’re injured or a loved one gets killed by a gun, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit for negligence under certain circumstances. One of these involves negligent or dangerous use of the weapon. For example, maybe someone was loading their weapon near you without putting the safety on and you were struck by a bullet.
In these cases, if the defendant was somehow involved in the negligence, they would likely bear at least some of the responsibility. For example, if several people are playing Russian roulette and one of them gets shot, that person likely can’t hold the shooter fully responsible for their injury since they were a willing participant in this dangerous “game.”
Many civil suits involving firearms are for negligent entrustment or storage. If a parent allows a minor to use a firearm without proper supervision and they shoot someone, that parent may be held liable for negligent entrustment. If they fail to lock up their firearms and their child gains access to one and shoots someone, they can be held liable for negligent storage. Negligent storage may also apply if an adult who isn’t legally allowed to have a weapon steals one from someone else in the home who didn’t keep it locked up.
Gun store owners and others who sell firearms can be held liable for negligent sales when a person who shouldn’t have been able to purchase a weapon harms someone. Examples include selling a firearm to someone who is under the influence or failing to perform the required background check.
People who are legally allowed to sell and/or own guns not only need to use them responsibly, they must take steps to ensure that they don’t get into the wrong hands.
Some people are injured or killed by defective firearms. If that’s the case, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable.
If you believe that you have grounds for a lawsuit based on any of these circumstances, it’s wise to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.