Surviving a Shooting: What Comes Next?
Sometimes, the unthinkable can happen: you or a loved one could become a victim of gun violence.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were nearly 20,000 shooting-related deaths in 2020. Sadly, Louisiana was ranked fifth in the nation for shooting-related deaths.
Gun violence takes an untenable toll on victims, their families, and their community. Shootings produce lifelong disabilities, trauma, and income loss to survivors, which can make life exceedingly difficult for victims and their loved ones.
Immediate Steps to Take After Surviving Gun Violence
Shooting incidents on private property can occur unexpectedly, much like the tragic episodes of mass shootings we’ve witnessed across the nation. While we’d rather they never happened, it’s important to understand what to do when faced with such a crisis.
Some of the most horrific shootings in recent memory have occurred on both public and private properties, leaving individuals and communities scrambling for answers. For instance, the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, tragically highlighted the extreme violence that can occur even in places that should be safe havens. Adults and children are killed every year at alarming rates due to such tragic events. However, many who survive these incidents are left wondering what to do in the aftermath.
In any situation where you survive a shooting, your immediate priority should be seeking medical attention. It’s natural that in the face of such a traumatic incident, you would be in shock, confused, and scared. However, even if you feel fine, it’s imperative that you get checked by a medical professional to make sure there are no hidden injuries that need attention.
After securing medical help, the next crucial step is to report the incident to law enforcement authorities as soon as possible. Providing a thorough account of the event will not only help in the investigation and possible prosecution of the shooter but also become an essential detail should you choose to seek legal remedies down the line.
It’s also recommended, if possible, to document the incident. Taking photos of the scene and your injuries and noting potential witnesses can be invaluable pieces of evidence in any subsequent claim.
Remember, the shock and stress of a shooting can be overwhelming. But taking these steps can help protect your rights and could be crucial to obtaining any future compensation.
How Much Can I Sue for Being Shot on Someone’s Property?
Following criminal charges against shooters, some victims have recourse to sue property owners for negligence in civil court. In some rare personal injury cases, an unintentional shooting might occur to defective products, in which case a weapons manufacturer may be responsible. However, most of these types of cases involve premise liability suits, and when negligence can be proven, property owners could be held legally responsible for shootings.
At Wright & Gray, we help victims of New Orleans shootings fight for their right to compensation. Read on to learn more.
When and where are property owners held liable for gun violence? Premise liability cases typically involve retail and hospitality-based businesses, apartment complexes, and parking lots. Other common venues for shootings that can give rise to a civil lawsuit include:
- Bars and nightclubs
- Movie theaters
- Shopping malls
- Grocery stores
- Houses of worship
- Storage facilities
- Sports complexes
One of the most common grounds for proving negligence involves property owners providing improper or inadequate security. In some instances, property owners could be found negligent if assailants were a known threat, such as a former disgruntled employee, or if crime rates are particularly high in an area.
Other types of negligent security include:
- Insufficient or defective security cameras
- Broken or missing locks
- Unlocked points of entry
- A lack of emergency exits
- Inadequate staff
- Improperly lit areas such as hallways, entrances, and exits
In premise liability cases, victims of gun violence may be entitled to compensation. Shootings tend to produce debilitating and, oftentimes, lifelong injuries.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and The Longterm Effects of Shooting Violence
Surviving a shooting is an incredibly traumatic event with potential long-term consequences that extend beyond physical wounds. An often overlooked, but significant impact of such violence is the psychological and emotional harm, most notably posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD, a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event, is common among survivors of shootings. Posttraumatic stress symptoms can range from flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety to uncontrollable thoughts about the event. The unpredictability of these symptoms can intensify the suffering, making daily routines, work, socializing, or just getting a good night’s sleep a challenge.
In addition to PTSD, survivors can also experience other types of emotional distress, including depression, survivor’s guilt, anger, and a general fear for personal safety. Cumulatively, these can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function as they did before the incident.
The longevity and severity of these effects differ from person to person, influenced by factors such as the extent of the traumatic event, personal resilience, support systems, and access to mental health services. But one thing is clear: the psychological scars of surviving a shooting can last longer and run deeper than physical injuries.
Luckily, there are ways for shooting survivors to get help. Therapy, counseling, and medication, alone or in combination, have proven to be effective in managing PTSD and other forms of emotional distress. However, these treatments can be costly and require ongoing commitment, underscoring the immense importance of seeking compensation not just for physical harm but also for the psychological trauma suffered.
It’s for these reasons that it’s crucial to have a strong legal advocate on your side. You need a dedicated attorney who can accurately calculate these intangible damages and fight for a compensation amount that truly reflects the devastating impact of the shooting on your life.
Suing for Being Shot: What Compensation Can Be Pursued?
From severe PTSD to physical disabilities, victims may be facing high medical costs and loss of income. In these cases, victims have a right to petition the courts for compensation for their injuries and lost wages. Should you, unfortunately, find yourself in a situation where you have been shot and injured on someone else’s property, you may have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit against the property owner or controller. In such lawsuits, the victim generally sues for negligence, asserting that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to ensure safety.
Several types of damages can be pursued in these situations. Medical expenses cover hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, medication, and any future medical care required as a result of the shooting. Lost wages account for work missed while recovering, and if the shooting leaves you with a disability or significantly impairs your ability to work, you may also be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity.
Of significant importance are non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Given the extremely traumatic nature of shootings, these damages can be substantial, reflecting the grief, trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life that victims often experience.
Family members and dependent loved ones such as children or spouses may be entitled to compensation if their loved one (who supports family members with his or her wages) dies from gun violence.
Settlements from these types of cases can be used to pay for the living expenses of relatives and dependents. If you are a victim of gun violence or an accidental shooting on someone else’s property, speaking with an attorney can help you determine the next course of action.
Contact a New Orleans Shooting Victim Attorney Today
Attorneys well-versed in premise liability may be able to help you pursue compensation for your injuries and loss of income—especially if property owners appear to have been negligent. Act now, and contact our New Orleans shooting victim attorneys today to discuss your options to obtain financial recovery.
Our personal injury firm, Wright & Gray, serves residents in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. We provide compassionate and aggressive representation to ensure that our clients receive fair compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from gun violence, call our office at 888-912-4944 to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.