A man who was with friends in a car in the parking lot of a shopping mall accidentally shot himself in the hand and foot on April 7th, 2013 when he was “playing” with a loaded gun. According to reports, the man, who is in his 20s, removed the magazine from the pistol, but failed to clear the chamber. Thinking the gun was unloaded, the man pulled the trigger, apparently with the gun pointed at himself, resulting in the injuries. Although the gun was registered to him, the man did not have a permit to publicly carry the weapon. The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Westfield Shopping Mall in El Cajon, California.
A witness at the scene said that, following the shot, the other occupants of the car could be heard laughing at their friend’s misfortune.
No Laughing Matter
Despite how Hollywood and TV make firearms appear, all firearms are dangerous weapons that should only be handled with the utmost respect. Professionals who carry firearms on a daily basis are taught a single rule that helps prevent accidents like the one described above – never assume a firearm is unloaded. So long as a person who carries a firearm assumes that the gun is loaded, then that person is unlikely to point the weapon at something he or she does not intend to shoot, like him or herself or, worse yet, an innocent bystander.
He’s Lucky He Only Shot Himself
Fortunately for the man in the story above, you can’t bring civil charges against yourself. It is unclear whether or not the man will face criminal charges, but one thing’s for sure, he would be a prime candidate to face civil charges had the discharged bullet struck another person.
Civil law allows individuals injured by the negligence or recklessness of third parties to seek monetary compensation from those third parties in court. Unlike criminal court which punishes wrongdoers on behalf of and for the good of society as a whole, civil court compensates injury victims in order to make them financially whole after an injury. To make them financially whole, civil courts allow injury victims to seek damages like pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, and certain other damages as the law allows. If the shooting had been intentional, and had another person been hurt, the injured victim would also be able to collect punitive damages, which are damages awarded not to compensate the victim, but to punish the offender, and to deter the offender, and society as a whole, from performing the type of behavior which led to the injury.
Civil Litigation – All About the Facts
Each and every civil case is different. While uniform rules govern the courts and give victims an idea of the outcome they can expect from a civil trial, each case will depend heavily on the facts of the specific case at hand. This is why personal injury attorneys experienced in civil litigation should be consulted before moving forward with a civil claim for damages. The attorney can review the facts of a case to determine whether or not it has merit and, if so, can advise the victim on his or her legal options.