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Firearm Defect

When Firearm Defects Result in Injury, Speak with a Cook County Product Liability Lawyer

Generally, when someone is injured by a firearm, liable defendants are negligent shooters or gun owners. But in some instances, firearms manufacturers, sellers and distributors can be sued if a firearm defect exists. A Cook County product liability lawyer can advise survivors or their family members.

Seller or manufacturer liability may be present in accidental shooting cases, such as when a safety mechanism fails to engage, and the gun accidentally discharges. A trigger locking mechanism may fail, and the weapon accidentally fires, causing serious injury or wrongful death. Gun distributors and dealers may also be held liable for accidents involving a firearm when the gun leads to injury if they knew of the defect.

Firearm Defect Cases are Based on Product Liability

Pursuing a defective firearm claim or case is done in the same manner as all defective product cases inasmuch as there is a specific standard of proof that the injured victim’s Cook County product liability lawyer must attain.

  • A product is defectively designed in a manner that makes an accident foreseeable (or reasonably anticipated), and a different design would reduce malfunction injury risk.
  • A product is defectively manufactured, even though it is properly designed.
  • A product is marketed with insufficient instructions or warnings that – if they were included – would have eliminated the common risks had the user of the firearm been made aware of those risks (past the mention it is a dangerous product to begin with).

Many times, the lawyers who defend gun manufacturers in civil liability cases will use the timeless argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This is why the “failure to warn” standard can apply to successful defective gun claims when the instructions do not properly advise the owner of specific instances in which a firearm might be more dangerous than generally accepted.

An example would be if the gun has an overly sensitive firing system, or “hair trigger.” The condition can be attributed to defective design or manufacture. But even if the design or manufacture question could be open to legal debate, the fact that the gun manufacturer did not adequately warn the purchaser of this “unique danger” could make the manufacturer legally liable. If, on the other hand, the manufacturer does warn purchasers adequately of a firearm, that very advisory could serve as a clue to a design or manufacturing flaw.

Negligence Firearms Civil Claims and Cases

Foreseeability – being able to anticipate an accident reasonably – also plays a large part in negligence-based firearms injuries and wrongful deaths. Generally, the ability to anticipate an accidental shooting is rather common, which makes the level of “dangerous” proof relatively low. And when someone has a gun in their hand, the level of legal duty not to harm others is high, simply because a deadly weapon is present.

So foreseeability, coupled with the high legal duty represented by a deadly firearm, make it less difficult to prove negligence of a gun owner or seller. Both must take all reasonable precautions to make certain the weapon they possess or sell will not harm another. If – for example – the purchaser is a minor, convicted felon or suffers from mental illness and the seller is – or should be – aware this is the case, and then sells a firearm to such a person, negligence likely can be proved. Gun seller violations of any applicable screening or waiting periods also constitute legal negligence, which a Cook County product liability lawyer can help prove.

And if the person holding the gun injures or kills someone in the commission of a crime, proving negligence or willful intent is a virtual certainty. Of course, it is possible that the convicted criminal may not have the financial means to compensate the injured victim or surviving family members in the event of a wrongful death. But licensed firearms dealers usually have insurance to pay the damages.

If you or a family member was injured or killed as a result of firearm defects or because of someone’s negligence, Buttafuoco and Associates experienced Cook County product liability lawyers offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT or by filling out our online contact form.