Gun violence often leaves its victims with severe or fatal injuries. Those who survive a shooting are left with emotional trauma and medical costs that could haunt them for years. But what if these catastrophic injuries could have been prevented in the first place?
If you have questions about determining liability after a gun-related accident or crime, contact our gunshot injury lawyers at Gary Martin Hays & Associates.
Georgia Gun Violence Statistics
Georgia is one of the top states for gun deaths in the country. In 2017, it came in fifth with a total of 1,623 deaths. Most deaths occurred within Metro Atlanta.
Overall, Georgians are more than twice as likely as New Yorkers to be killed in a shooting. The gun death rate exceeds even that of Chicago.
Obtaining Compensation for Shooting Victims
Gun violence can leave devastating effects on a victim’s physical, mental, and financial health. It's vital anyone affected by a gunshot wound or has lost a loved one to a shooting seek legal counsel and explore their options regarding compensation.
Shooting victims in Georgia have access to three types of compensation (not including insurance and savings):
- Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program
- Personal injury claim or lawsuit against the shooter(s) or potentially negligent parties
This is an amount a court orders a criminal to pay to their victims after they are found guilty and sentenced. Restitution helps cover out-of-pocket expenses, damages, and other losses related to the perpetrator’s criminal actions.
This may include medical bills, prescriptions, physical therapy, psychological counseling, lost income, court-related expenses, damaged or lost property, insurance deductibles, and costs of cleaning up the crime scene.
Unlike personal injury settlements, restitution does not cover emotional distress, pain and suffering, or the psychological and financial burden caused by permanent disfigurement.
Restitution is only granted to shooting victims if the assailant is caught, charged, and convicted. In many cases, the shooter is never found. If they are, the accused person may walk free because the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove guilt or intent.
Even if the gunshot perpetrator is convicted, court-ordered restitution rarely covers all of the financial burdens of a shooting case.
Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program
The Crime Victims Compensation Program was created in 1988 to assist with the expenses caused by violent crime and encourage people to report criminal activity. Crime victims can apply for up to $25,000 in compensation, however, these funds are only available after all other forms of damage recovery are exhausted.
Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit for Shooting Victims
Victims of a crime are often able to pursue a personal injury claim at the same time as the criminal trial. In a criminal trial, the victims take a backseat while prosecutors from the district attorney’s office try to convince a jury of the accused’s guilt; a civil trial gives victims a voice and control over the allegations, evidence, and legal arguments presented.
Even if the shooter is acquitted in criminal court, they still have to settle with the victims in civil court.
Depending on the case or if the gunshot is accidental, victims may be able to file a liability claim under a property’s insurance policy or commercial liability insurance policy.
In some cases, gunshot victims are forced to prove they weren’t responsible for the conditions that led up to the incident. Fortunately, Georgia’s comparative negligence laws still allow victims to seek compensation as long as they are responsible for 49 percent or less of the incident.
Investigating Inadequate and Negligent Security Claims
Reasonable security within buildings and premises discourage crime. Under Georgia’s premises liability laws, commercial property owners, landlords, apartment managers, and businesses are expected to maintain a reasonably safe environment to prevent foreseeable crimes from hurting innocent victims.
When these individuals and companies don’t take the minimum steps necessary to learn of any dangerous conditions and correct these dangers and someone is shot or killed as result, there is a potential claim for inadequate or negligent security.
While the person who fired the gun is directly responsible, we investigate the details and location of the assault for any negligence or malice on the part of the commercial property or business owners.
Potential Security Risks
- Dimly lit parking areas, halls or walkways
- Unsecured doors or windows
- Too few or no security guards
- No security cameras
- Failure to monitor security feeds
- Lack of fencing
- Failure to run criminal background checks on tenants or employees
- No security plan or policy in place
Inadequate security claims for serious gunshot wounds may be also connected to a carjacking, robbery, burglary, gang-incident, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, stalking, murder, or wrongful death.
Hiring a Georgia Crime Victims Lawyer
Gun wounds are difficult to treat. A Standford study found that the average hospital bill after just 35 minutes of emergency treatment can sometimes be as high as $21,000. A shooting injury can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency medical treatment, cause disability issues, leave victims permanently disfigured.
In tragic cases, the victim is killed at the scene or dies hours or days later at the hospital and the family has to think about filing a wrongful death suit on top of everything else going on.
Reach out to our attorneys and explore all of your options regarding your personal injury claim or lawsuit. We’ll help seek compensation for:
- Medical, rehabilitation, and prescription costs
- Past and future lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Physical and emotional suffering
Above all, we will hold all negligent parties accountable for their actions.