Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Seattle Proposes New Negligence Law on Gun Access

Posted Saturday, May 26, 2018 by Chris Thayer

In September 2017, a 15-year-old boy came to Freeman High School in Rockford armed with a rifle hidden in a duffel bag and a pistol in his coat pocket. According to police reports, he got the weapons from his father’s gun safe. The rifle jammed, and when he took out the pistol, another student confronted him. The shooter then shot that student in the abdomen and in the face before firing at other students down the hallway. The student who confronted him died, and three others were wounded.

If one Washington mayor has her way, then that boy would not have had access to his father’s guns. A father – or anyone – who allowed children or other unauthorized users to access their weapons would be civilly liable.

*Legislation Proposed in Seattle*Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently proposed legislation that would penalize gun owners for allowing unauthorized users to obtain their weapons and to use them for harm. The proposal stemmed from the spate of mass shootings in recent years, as well as a study finding that only 36% of Washington gun owners say they keep their firearms locked and unloaded at home. (These penalties would only apply to stored guns, and not weapons carried by their owners.)

Violators would be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000. There is also an important component of the law that would help victims filing personal injury lawsuits. A violation of the law would be considered evidence of negligence.

*Suing a Shooter or Gun Owner for Negligence Under Current Law*First, keep in mind that the proposed changes would only affect Seattle.

Then, rest assured that even if the proposal does not become law, or if you live somewhere other than Seattle, you can still hold a shooter or gun owner civilly liable for gun injuries. While the new law would make it easier to establish negligence, you can make that case regardless. Injury victims just need to prove that the negligent actor breached a duty of care. In a school shooting case, parents owe a duty to keep their children safe and to prevent their children from hurting others. Allowing a child access to guns, especially if that child has a propensity for harm, is arguably a breach of that duty.

As with any negligence case, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit in Washington (the rules are different when the injured person is a minor.) Also remember that Washington is a comparative fault state, which means that if you were partially at fault for your injuries, any damages awarded to you will be reduced by your percentage of fault, although it is hard to imagine how a shooting victim could be found partially at fault.

*Contact Us Today*Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you were injured in a shooting incident caused by a gun owner’s negligence. Our experienced attorneys will examine the facts of your case and help recover compensation for your injuries, whether or not the proposed legislation becomes law.