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Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against Highland Park Shooting Gun Manufacturer

 Posted on July 09, 2024 in Wrongful Death

IL injury lawyerThe Highland Park, IL, July 4th Parade shooting in 2022 sent shockwaves throughout the state. Seven victims lost their lives when a 21-year-old opened fire. Another 48 people were injured in the shooting. The suspect was apprehended eight hours after the shooting and charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and 48 counts of attempted murder. While a wrongful death claim was the last thing on the minds of the family members, two years later, such a claim has been filed.

While justice can be elusive in the criminal arena, another type of justice may be possible for victims and their families. HB0218, the Firearm Industry Responsibility Act (FIRA), was signed into law by Governor Pritzker in August 2023. FIRA holds gun manufacturers accountable when they knowingly use unsafe marketing practices to cause harm.  

If your loved one died as the result of another’s negligence, you should contact a Barrington wrongful death attorney from Barrington Injury Attorneys, who can help you file a claim for damages. When you have a skilled lawyer who will advocate for you and your family, you can take the time you need to grieve your loss.

Justice for Families of Victims May Come Through a Wrongful Death Claim

The suspect in the Highland Park shootings recently rejected a plea deal, leaving those whose lives were changed forever on that day in limbo. One victim, the youngest shooting survivor—eight at the time of the shooting. Today, the 10-year-old is paralyzed from the waist down from the shooting that also injured his mother and his twin brother.

In an unexpected turn, family members of another victim have filed a wrongful death claim. While wrongful death claims are not unusual when negligence is responsible for a death, the claim is against Smith & Wesson—the manufacturer of the M&P 15.  Other families of the victims have also joined the wrongful death lawsuit, which alleges Smith & Wesson continued marketing and selling the M&P 15.

The suit claims that the company even marketed the weapon directly to teens, despite the fact the gun has been used in four mass shootings in the past ten years. Plaintiffs claim Smith & Wesson’s decision to continue marketing the weapon constitutes negligent entrustment, a violation of Illinois state consumer protection laws.  The lawsuit also names the sellers of the weapon for selling the weapon to an individual prohibited under Illinois law from owning the firearm.

How a Gun Manufacturer Might Be Liable for Deaths and Injuries When Their Gun is Used in a Mass Shooting

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has largely protected gun manufacturers when their guns are used in a criminal act. Gun manufacturers can be held liable under certain circumstances, including negligence, breach of contract regarding the purchase of a gun, or certain damages related to defects in the gun design. The Supreme Court allowed a lawsuit against Remington Arms Company to proceed in 2019.

This case was brought by a survivor and families of nine of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. This suit was settled in February 2022 for $73 million. The case against Remington regarding the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle targeted the way the rifle was marketed toward younger, at-risk males. The company also allowed the Bushmaster to be promoted through several violent video games.  

Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, survivors of wrongful death are entitled to damages that may include funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses that occurred before the death, and compensation for emotional damages caused by the death, including mental suffering, grief, sorrow, lack of parental guidance and care, and loss of consortium.

Contact a Cook County, IL, Wrongful Death Attorney Today to Set Up Your Free Consultation

While the outcome of the Illinois wrongful death claim against Smith & Wesson remains to be seen, those who have lost a loved one to negligence should contact an attorney from Barrington Injury Attorneys at 224-900-HURT. When you have a skilled Barrington, IL wrongful death attorney fighting for you, the outcome of your wrongful death claim could be much more positive.

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