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In the aftermath of a fatal shooting, wrongful death lawsuits often follow. How do such lawsuits work, when a victim (and perhaps even the shooter) is dead?
Laws in every state allow for civil wrongful-death lawsuits when a person's death was due to the negligence or deliberate acts of another person or entity. For example, relatives of two victims in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings won $8 million in a wrongful-death suit that alleged negligence by the school.
Recent mass shootings at a movie theater in Colorado and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin may also lead to wrongful death suits. In general, here's what plaintiffs will have to prove:
Other considerations in shooting-related wrongful death lawsuits include potential caps on damage awards, especially when doctors or state entities are involved, and the time limit for filing such suits, just to name a few. That's why it's wise to consult with an experienced local wrongful death attorney who can advise you on the best way to proceed.