What San Jose’s New Firearm Liability Laws Mean for Injured Victims
For countless years, the gun industry has enjoyed complete immunity from injury lawsuits in the United States. Regardless of how negligent gun owners have continued to become, injured victims experience considerable difficulties when attempting to sue those responsible for firearm injuries. However, things are slowly changing in the United States, and San Jose is now leading the way when it comes to increased liability for firearm-related injuries.
But what does this mean for average San Jose residents who are struggling with serious firearm injuries? These injuries can be incredibly severe, and they can lead to life-altering consequences for victims. Bullets can disfigure, maim, and cut short the lives of innocent people. Victims may be left paralyzed, unable to walk, or scarred beyond recognition. These injuries can not only be painful and disabling, but also extremely expensive. In addition, these injuries can lead to significant psychological trauma, anxiety, depression, and other non-economic damages.
If you have suffered a firearm injury in San Jose, it makes sense to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. While San Jose’s new laws offer new opportunities for gun violence victims, you still need to get help from a qualified lawyer if you want to achieve positive results. During your consultation, we can discuss your unique situation and explore various potential strategies to pursue fair, adequate compensation.
How Does Firearm Liability Insurance Work?
Firearm liability insurance works the same way as auto insurance. If someone is harmed due to the discharge of a firearm, they would have the ability to file an injury claim with the gun owner’s insurance policy. This allows the victim to recover considerable compensation for their damages without having to sue the owner directly. Although it might seem more reasonable to sue the owner directly, the truth is that many gun owners may not have the necessary funds to cover your medical expenses, missed wages, and other damages. In contrast, an insurance company has a near-limitless supply of funds, allowing you to pursue a fair and adequate settlement.
The process of filing an injury claim is also theoretically easier than going through a trial in court. Normally, negotiations occur behind closed doors, and insurance providers are relatively quick to offer a settlement. Although there might be a bit of back-and-forth“ as your attorney tries to negotiate a fair settlement, the end result is that this entire process can be resolved relatively quickly and easily.
It is worth mentioning that this kind of insurance would apply only to legal incidents. In other words, criminal shootings would not have the ability to sue the gun owner through their insurance policy. This is because no insurance policy covers people for illegal acts. However, you may be able to sue a gun owner if their weapon is lost or stolen before finding its way into the hands of violent criminals. This type of insurance mostly applies to accidental discharges, hunting accidents, and similar incidents.
San Jose’s New Laws Explained
On January 26th of 2022, it was reported that San Jose had passed the first gun insurance laws in the history of the United States. Gun owners are now required to carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee. This was largely a reaction to incredible levels of gun violence in the city. Lawmakers claim that these new laws will encourage gun owners in San Jose to store their firearms in gun safes, install trigger locks, and enroll in firearm safety courses. Gun safes could be especially crucial, as gun owners can now be held liable for gun injuries caused by their stolen firearms if they fail to report the theft to authorities within a certain amount of time.
This firearm liability insurance will cover losses and damages resulting from any accidental use of the firearm. This would allow plaintiffs to sue for injuries and property damage. In addition, surviving family members can now file wrongful death claims if accidental gun discharges have killed their loved ones. San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo promised that gun owners who fail to get this insurance would not lose their guns or face criminal charges. Liccardo also stated that gun violence costs San Jose taxpayers upwards of $40 million each year in expenses related to police officers, ambulances, and trauma surgeons.
The New Law Has Faced Fierce Opposition
It is unknown whether the law will stand, as gun rights activists have taken a fierce stance against the new development in San Jose. Since this law is the first of its kind in the United States, there is concern that this could set a precedent, leading to a domino effect across the entire nation as more cities enact similar bills.
Gun rights activists have several key complaints. First, they claim that this new law does nothing to stop illegal gun crime, and they argue that law-abiding gun owners are being forced to bear the financial cost of criminals who engage in shootings, gang violence, and murder. Secondly, they claim that this law is a violation of the Second Amendment, and that it is illegal to create what they describe as a “tax” on the exercising of constitutional rights.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the San Jose area for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We are passionate about fighting for victims’ rights, and we know that victims of shootings can suffer from devastating, life-altering injuries. Whether your injuries were due to an intentional or accidental discharge of a firearm, you deserve the ability to pursue compensation for your damages.
Book your consultation today, and you can explore your legal options in more depth. Mandatory firearm insurance means that pursuing compensation from gun owners is theoretically easier than ever before in San Jose. However, you still need help from a competent legal professional if you want to receive fair and adequate compensation. Reach out today.