Visitor Question

Shot by a 17 Year Old…

Submitted By: Tim (Virginia)

A 17 year old kid shot me with his father’s gun. It was not self defense (the criminal case is over), and the parents were home when it happened outside of their house. I am permanently crippled and only 20 years old.

My question is, do I have any basis for a personal injury lawsuit? What could I sue for, the father’s negligence which allowed his son access to the gun? Any information you could give would be great.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Tim,

You do have legal recourse against the father. Although the State of Virginia considers a 17 year old an adult for criminal prosecution purposes, a 17 year old is still a minor for civil matters.

As a result, if your injury was sustained within the last two years you still have a legal right to pursue a lawsuit against the father. In the State of Virginia parents can be held legally responsible for the actions of their children.

Depending upon where the shooting took place you may be able to be compensated by the boy’s father’s homeowners insurance company. If the shooting took place on his home property, attempt to learn the name of the father’s homeowners insurance company.

Once you have that information call and make a claim. Your claim will be assigned to a Claims Adjuster. She will shortly thereafter contact you for a telephonic statement. She also may come to visit with you personally.

Go ahead and cooperate with her. She will also be investigating the boy and his parents. Liability is clear. The adjuster can support her payout by copying the boy’s criminal case file.

Some cases can be pursued privately. This is one which really calls for a personal injury attorney.

A good personal injury attorney may be able to “cut through the red tape” and secure a substantial settlement without having to file a lawsuit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 14, 2011

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