There is an old saying that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” but the fact of the matter is that there are steps that businesses can take to keep others safe and prevent gun violence from occurring on their property. More and more, we hear about shootings that take place in public, often involving mass casualties and victims who had no connection to the shooter. Under Texas state law, property owners such as hotels, restaurants, clubs, concert halls, stadiums, theatres, universities, stores, and other indoor and outdoor properties do indeed have a legal duty to protect their guests from violence occurring. When these landowners fail to fulfill their legal duty to protect guests, and a person dies from a shooting or other act of violence committed by a third party, the family members of the deceased victim can pursue financial recovery for their losses against the property owner in a wrongful death suit based on the concept of negligent security.
Defining Negligent Security in a Wrongful Death Case
While not every injury that occurs on another’s property will result in a successful lawsuit, a business or property owner that fails to take reasonable steps to protect guests from danger can be liable.
In the context of shootings and other criminal acts, property owners should of course be aware of the rampant danger of gun violence in our society and take reasonable steps to prevent such violence from occurring on their property. Such steps might include:
- Hiring well-trained security guards
- Hiring an adequate number of security personnel
- Taking steps to prevent weapons from being brought into certain events
- Addressing violent situations as quickly as possible
- Installing security systems to detect crime (e.g. alarms, cameras, etc.)
- Protecting secured areas from intrusion by dangerous and/or unknown individuals
- Making sure locks and other devices are in working order
- Keeping areas well lit
What constitutes adequate, reasonable security will depend on the event, the venue, the number of people, and a host of other facts that your attorney will investigate and potentially raise in bringing a wrongful death lawsuit on your family’s behalf.
Working With an Attorney in a Texas Wrongful Death Case
It is important to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after an injury and/or death occurs on another person’s property, so that your attorney can investigate the matter while evidence is still intact, available, and reliable (e.g. surveillance footage, eyewitness reports, physical evidence from the scene) to help make your case as compelling as possible.
Why Bringing a Texas Wrongful Death Case is Important
By bringing a wrongful death case after a violent event occurs, you can protect your family by making sure your financial and emotional losses are accounted for, including the cost of the financial and emotional support that would have been provided by the victim throughout his or her life.
In addition, by pursuing a case, you also hold property owners accountable for taking the proper steps to make properties safe, leading to a safer environment for all in your community.
Work With Experienced Dallas Wrongful Death Attorneys
The Kelley Law Firm PC in Dallas, TX represents the rights of personal injury victims and family members of those killed wrongfully. We have successfully recovered numerous 7-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and are passionately committed to obtaining the maximum financial recovery that our clients deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation regarding your personal injury or wrongful death matter.