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How is liability decided in the wake of a mass shooting?

When first responders reached the Jacksonville Landing Complex on August 26th, 2018, they had close to a dozen victims with varying degrees of injury. A 24-year-old gunman had opened fire at an online video game tournament, killing two before taking his own life. During his shooting rampage, the gunman injured nine others who required medical treatment.

In the months that have passed since this tragic event, victims fortunate enough to survive have been focused on both their physical and mental recovery. For the loved ones of the victims who died, they have no choice but to carry on without them. This is so small task.

As of now, ten lawsuits have been filed against the owners of the outdoor mall, where the killing spree took place.

Liability in the wake of a mass shooting

Of the ten known lawsuits, one is for wrongful death and nine involve personal injury claims. This raises many questions about who, exactly, is liable after a mass shooting. Every tragedy has unique factors requiring close examination by experienced attorneys, and at this point, it is too early to speculate about liability in the case of the tragedy on August 26th.

Instead, here are five examples where a shooting victim or their loved ones could pursue a case for either wrongful death or personal injury. This list is not exhaustive.

  • A school resource officer fails their duty to protect
  • Law enforcement ignored tips about the gunman
  • School administrators ignored mental health complaints or concerns
  • Building owners breached their duty of providing reasonable care
  • Survivors feel the gun manufacturers are to blame

Victims or their loved ones want nothing more than to turn back the hands of time. With that not being possible, it is reasonable to pursue compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages cover medical expenses, time lost at work, or compensation for the physical or mental pain and suffering in the wake of the event. Punitive damages exist to punish the responsible party.

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