Showing Causation In A Gun Injury Case

When pursuing a gun injury case, it isn't just enough to show that the owner of the gun was negligent. You will also need to show causation, which is a fancy way of saying that you will need to prove that the owner's negligence actually caused your injury. Only then will you be able to recover damages from the gun owner. Here are the two things that the court will analyze to determine causation:

The Relation Between the Defendant's Negligence and Your Injury

First, you need to show a direct link between the gun owner's negligence and your injury. For example, if you are claiming that the owner negligently stored their weapon, you will need to show that this is what caused your injury. A good example is where a gun owner stores their gun in a safe but then forgets to lock the safe. If a kid gets hold of the weapon and accidentally shoots you, then you can claim that the kid wouldn't have handled the weapon (and hence you wouldn't have been injured) if the gun owner had locked their safe.

Contrast this with a case where the gun owner stores their gun in a safe and also forgets to lock it, but the gun is then retrieved from the case by another adult (perhaps a relative) who also has access to the safe's key. If the person ends up accidentally shooting you with the gun, then you can't use the gun owner's negligence (leaving the safe unlocked) to pursue damages from the owner because your injuries aren't connected to it. After all, the person who caused your injury could still have handled the gun if the safe was locked since they had access to its key.

The Conduct of All Parties Involved In the Accident

Your conduct, the conduct of the gun owner, and the conduct of any other party involved in the injury will also be analyzed. For example, the court will be interested in knowing the part you played in the negligence and your subsequent injury. If your actions contributed to your injury, then the owner's liability will be reduced in proportion to your contribution.

 A good example of this is when you "borrow" a weapon from your parent's cabinet, start showing it off and it goes off in your buddy's hands, causing you injury. In such a case, the court may hold your parent responsible if they didn't store the gun correctly, your buddy responsible for carelessly handling the gun, and you responsible for stealing the gun from your parent's storage place. That means your contribution to the accident will reduce your eventual financial award.

For more information, talk with an attorney like those at Law Offices Of Timothy L Lapointe PC.