Wrongful Death Lawyer
Family members can seek compensation when a loved one died because a business failed to take precautions to prevent customers from being shot. Each state has its own set of laws that determine how a wrongful death case is initiated. Some states require a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by the victim’s estate, while other states identify specific family members, such as spouses and children, who can bring the claim.
State law also determines how proceeds of the claim are measured and shared. In addition, state law governs the time for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawyer can explain those laws to the families of deceased shooting victims.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Case After a Shooting at a Business
States generally recognize the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against each person or business who was responsible for a crime victim’s death. While the shooter obviously shares responsibility for a shooting death, murderers do not typically have the resources with which to pay a wrongful death claim. Since insurance companies do not offer “murder insurance,” families of shooting victims must turn to other responsible parties to obtain compensation.
When a shooting occurs in a business, a security negligence and shooting lawyer will ask whether the business failed to take steps to protect its patrons from violence. For example, if a shooting takes place in an area that has been troubled by crime, a business may have a duty to provide adequate security to protect customers.
When a shooting occurs in a business that offers alcohol, the business might have a duty to assure that intoxicated patrons do not threaten other patrons with firearms. When a business parking lot has inadequate lighting, they may be responsible for creating a dangerous environment that places customers at risk of being shot during a robbery.
A wrongful death lawyer will examine all of the surrounding circumstances to determine whether a business could have prevented a customer’s shooting death. A lawyer can advise family members of potential remedies that can be pursued when a business negligently failed to provide security or allowed an unsafe property condition to contribute to the victim’s death.
Time Limit for Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Shooting at a Business
Every state sets its own deadline for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. The period before the deadline arrives is known as the limitations period. States enact limitations periods to assure that legal claims are pursued promptly. The prompt commencement of claims helps ensure that outcomes are correct. Delay allows memories to deteriorate and evidence to disappear.
The limitations period for a wrongful death may vary depending on whether the lawsuit alleges intentional or negligent conduct. For wrongful death claims based on the negligence of a business, a typical limitations period is two or three years. However, limitations periods can be as short as one year in some states, and as long as six years in others.
In addition, certain state laws determine when the limitations period begins to run. While the limitations period usually starts running from the date of the victim’s death, other factors — such as the date the victim’s estate enters probate — might affect the commencement of the limitations period. In some states, a family member may have more time to commence a wrongful death lawsuit if the family member was under the age of 18 when the death occurred. That rule may give a son or daughter of the shooting victim more time to file a lawsuit. A family member with a mental disability who must take legal action through a guardian may also have more time.
It is important to understand that the laws of each state are different. The limitations period can only be calculated by an attorney who is familiar with the law of the state in which the death occurs. A security negligence lawyer can investigate the facts and the law and provide important advice that will protect the right of family members to pursue a wrongful death claim.