Every year, thousands of Americans suffer gunshot wounds. Many of these cases are unintentional accidents while others occur during the commission of criminal acts. In either case, the gunshot victim is often entitled to compensation for the injuries.
Common Causes of Gun-Related Injuries:
Crime is one of the most common causes of gun-related injuries. You only have to turn on the evening news to realize that gun-related crimes can occur anywhere, to any person, at any time, including during a routine walk around the block or a trip to the corner store. In addition to deliberate criminal acts, the following are just a few of the factors that can lead to a gun-related injury:
- inadequate gun safety training,
- lack of parental supervision,
- improper gun handling or storage, and
- manufacturer’s defect.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Gun-Related Injuries?
Gun-related personal injury cases are often more complex than they may seem at first glance. If the injury occurs during the commission of a criminal act, obviously the shooter can be held criminally and civilly liable for their actions; however, the liability may not end with the shooter. For example, a business or property owner has a duty to maintain a reasonably safe environment for their customers or guests. If the business or property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a foreseeable crime or accident from occurring, they may also be held partially responsible. A parent may be found liable if their child manages to discharge a gun that was not properly secured. Even a gun manufacturer may be found liable if a gun goes off accidentally because of a manufacturing defect or poor assembly.
What Is the Burden of Proof in an Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant’s actions resulted in their injuries and damages. In most cases, the plaintiff must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the plaintiff must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the defendant acted in a reckless or negligent manner resulting in their injuries. In a few situations, such as those involving punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove their case by clear and convincing evidence, which requires a finding of “high probability” rather than just more probable than not. This is a higher standard than “preponderance of the evidence” but less than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases.
What Type of Evidence Is Used in a Gun-Related Personal Injury Case?
To meet their burden of proof, the plaintiff may use various types of evidence, including:
- police reports,
- witness statements,
- medical reports,
- expert testimony, and
- photographic and video evidence.
Since witness memories can fade and physical evidence can be lost or misplaced, it is important to act quickly to ensure that the evidence is collected and preserved. One of the best ways to do this is by contacting a lawyer who can use subpoenas and other legal means to obtain the information.
Types of Compensation Available for Gun-Related Injuries:
If you are the victim of a gun-related injury, you may be able to receive compensation for your current and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. In most cases, receiving compensation entails negotiations with the other party’s insurance company. It is not unusual for an insurance company to use the victim’s vulnerable physical, emotional, and financial state to secure a quick, low-ball settlement. Even innocent statements, such as saying that you should have been more careful, may be construed as suggesting that you contributed to your own injuries and diminish your claim. An experienced lawyer will know how present the evidence in your case to the insurance adjuster in a way that is most favorable to you, which may help you achieve a larger settlement.
Why Choose Etehad Law?
At Etehad Law, we pride ourselves on our personal approach to each and every case. Our attorneys have a proven track record of recovering large settlements for clients throughout California. In one notable case, we were able to obtain a judgment of more than $5 million for a man wounded in a tragic convenience store shooting that left two people dead. While every case and result is unique, you can rest assured that our team will be by your side every step of the way.
If you or a loved one has suffered a gun-related injury, contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.