Good afternoon. My name is Keith Shindler. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to listen to our Facebook Live session. The purpose of the Facebook Live sessions is to help our clients, in any situation, learn how to Claim Your Justice.
You can reach us at 847-434-3555, or visit us on the internet at our website claimyourjustice.com. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions that you’d like to submit to us. You could also reach out to us through Facebook.
Today, I want to talk about a very difficult subject. On July 4th, more than a month ago, we had a terrible incident in Highland Park, Illinois, during an Independence Day Parade, where a mass shooting occurred. Seven people were tragically killed, many others were physically injured, and many beyond that were psychologically and mentally injured.
Who Is Liable For A Mass Shooting?
My part of the job, in addition to being very sad about all of the events that occurred and all the people that are negatively affected, is how can I help someone Claim Your Justice? The question arises, and it’s a difficult and sensitive subject, but who may be liable to pay for the people’s damages that suffered psychological injuries, need counseling, as a result, have some PTSD or other type of diagnosis, who’s going to pay for medical bills, pain, suffering, and disfigurement.
Of those that were tragically physically injured, some have undergone many surgeries. Most of us know the story of the young boy that is paralyzed as a result. Of course, those sadly and tragically taken from us were killed. You would generally think the first reaction is that no one is responsible for the criminal acts of a third person because generally, those criminal acts are not foreseeable.
We’ll talk in two weeks about a recent event that happened where someone was sued for a repairman entering a customer’s house, an 83-year-old customer’s house, and killing her, and why that person was responsible. Some of the same legal analysis applies. Anyone who’s going to be named or targeted as a defendant in a civil case will say, I’m not responsible for the criminal acts of this mass murder, and therefore, I’m not financially liable for any of the injuries that you’re claiming whether it’s wrongful death, a survival action, medical bills, disfigurement, future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages.
First Of All, Who Could Potential Targets Be For Liability?
Well, the number one potential target could be the person or company that sold the weapon to this alleged mass murderer. If there’s a civil action brought, the gun companies are going to say there is a liability statute that protects them from these types of actions.
However, that has been pierced a couple of times, and I’m sure it’ll be challenged again in this particular incident. You also have potential liability for the people who were promoting the event. Why? Because they may have been responsible for providing security.
Then the question becomes, what is the level of security that they should have provided? I don’t think it’s foreseeable that the event promoter should have had people on the roofs of the local buildings looking out for potential terrorists or mass murderers, but it’s arguable, right?
You could also have the owners of the buildings where this may have occurred if they didn’t properly secure their building, of course, the owners of the buildings are going to argue they’re not responsible. Again, criminal conduct is not foreseeable. Don’t hang it on us. I would understand that argument. But the fact of the matter is I’m developing theories that may work to help clients recover monetary damages for their losses.
If the event promoter hired a separate security company says that if the event promoter is Company A, and they say we put on events, we don’t provide security, they hire a security Company B to provide security, then similar arguments may be applied to those companies to say, hey, security company, what did you secure, it wasn’t so secure.
Are There Claims Against Law Enforcement?
Sadly, there may be some liability claims against law enforcement, if there were incidences where allegedly law enforcement should have known that this person was a danger to society and should have arrested the person. I don’t know that that applies in this case, I’m not sure that it does, but it’s potential targeting of defendants in these civil cases.
Are The Parents of The Shooter Liable?
There may be claims of liability made against the parents of this person, the liability theory would argue, hey, parents or relatives, did you know that this event was being planned? Did you have reasons to know that this event was being planned? If so, you should have notified the police. Again, I don’t think that that applies here. All of these are allegations, we’re just talking about possible potential theories of liability.
Can An Employer Be Liable?
Let’s say that the shooter was an employee of a company, and he was doing some type of work in the area while clocked in and committed this offense. Well, you would target the employer to say, you hired this employee, you may have had reason to know he was a danger. You let him work in an area that was populated with people enjoying and celebrating the patriotism of our country, Fourth of July, the employers will say I had no foreseeability.
Can A Hotel Or Motel Be Liable For The Actions Of A Guest?
Many years ago in Las Vegas, a Las Vegas hotel was sued. I believe the claim there was that the person who was the shooter was in his room for a certain number of days, didn’t come out, and the maid may have gone in, I don’t remember the exact arguments there, but certainly, those arguments were asserted.
Can A Mental Health Professional Be Liable For A Mass Shooter’s Actions?
You may have a cause of action against a mental health care provider that if a person who was accused of a mass shooting was under the care of a mental health professional, there may be an argument like the mental health care professional, I know that the sanctity of the privilege between the doctor and the patient is sacrosanct. However, sometimes that can be pierced if there’s knowledge of imminent harm or a threat of harm.
Can A Straw Purchaser Be Liable?
Lastly, you have something called a straw purchaser where a person who wants to use a gun and should not be using the gun and cannot legally buy the gun themselves, ask a third party person to buy the gun for them. Well, that straw purchaser certainly may be on the hook for that.
Recap On Mass Shooter Liability
So, these are very sensitive subjects. I felt a little uncomfortable bringing this up and having a conversation about it. I wanted everyone to know that you have got to be thinking about potential ways to recover money because injuries happen to innocent people. Sometimes innocent people are not able to collect the monetary compensation that they should to properly value their injury.
Contact Our Schaumburg Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Attorneys
I’m giving you some ideas on how we would evaluate cases like this. If you, a family member, or anyone you know is injured in a car or truck, any type of work-related accident, slip and fall, reach out to Claim Your Justice. Call 847-434-3555.
Let us explain your rights. We’ll explain how the representation works. There’s no fee for our services until we win your case. Thank you for taking time today to listen and have a great rest of your week.