WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR TERRORISM-CAUSED INJURIES?
In October, 2017, after a 29-year-old male driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck plowed into bicyclists and pedestrians on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City, 8 people were left dead and more than 12 injured.
In that same month, a high-stakes gambler named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and injuring an additional 546 people.
In November, there was a shooting attack at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church during worship services that left 26 people, including 9 children, dead and more than 20 injured.
The FBI defines terrorism as “an attack motivated by political, religious, social, racial, or environmental beliefs”. But all hijackings, suicide bombings, and shootings wreak devastation in the form of physical and mental injuries. Post traumatic stress disorder may force someone who has been a victim of – or a witness to – a terrorist act to change jobs or even to stop working, causing financial hardship to the family, which in turn can result in divorce and, home repossession, and even bankruptcy.
If you have been involved in a violent attack on civilians, is there any way to get compensation to help you put your life back together? If a family member died in the attack, is there a way for you to get financial help?
As personal injury attorneys, we can tell you the answer is “yes”. If you have suffered a traumatic ordeal, you need legal representation if you are to have a chance at receiving compensation. But, since each incident, each injury, each life story is different, at Ramey & Hailey, we’ve found, victims need more than a chance at compensation; they need compassionate, personalized counsel.
“Usually, when people talk about “trauma,” they’re using the term to describe an emotional reaction to an event,” Almendrala and Schumaker comment in the Huffington Post. “But in the medical sense,” they explain, “trauma is a physical, chemical experience, where a person believes their life or body is under threat ― and it triggers temporary changes to a person’s strength and cognition in order to help them make it out alive,”.
But who IS it, exactly, that may be held liable for injuries inflicted on innocent victims in an attack? And what if the attacker is now dead?
Here are just a few of the issues that a personal injury attorney will investigate in finding possible third-party liability for the crime:
- Vendors: What was the instrument of death? How were the gun/bomb ingredients procured? Were proper background checks performed before selling the gun to the perpetrator?
- Healthcare providers: Did healthcare providers have concrete information that the perpetrator had violent tendencies and other mental issues, yet failed to issue warnings?
- Hotels: Potential litigation related to terrorist or other mass attacks will generally take the form of a negligence suit, alleging that the hotel breached its duty to the victims to have adequate security measures.
- Employers: An employer may have failed to report changes in an employee’s mental health, failed to report threatening comments the employee made, and failed to seize weapons issued to that employee by the company.
- Social media: A new legal theory suggests that social media could be held liable for terrorism. Social media companies may be liable for allowing terrorists to use their platforms and also profiting from that use.
“The psychological consequences of directly experiencing or witnessing a mass shooting are often serious,” explains the National Center for posttraumatic Stress Disorder. “PTSD manifests itself in an estimated 28 percent of people who have witnessed a mass shooting,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. “It’s important to recognize symptoms that might need attention from a mental health professional, like flashbacks, severe depression, substance use and hallucinations,” the National Center for PTSD warns.
If your life or the life of a member of your family has been taken or forever changed due to a violent attack on civilians, the possibility for compensation exists. At Ramey & Hailey, our personal injury attorneys invite you to let us find out.