Insight

Families of Las Vegas Shooting Victims May Struggle With Inevitable Wrongful Death Lawsuits

It is easy to buy guns and hard to hold anyone other than the user accountable.

Las Vegas Shooting
RM

Richard Morse

October 10, 2017 11:49 AM

Another mass shooting has left nearly 60 families to grieve the unexpected loss of a loved one. There is no doubt that these deaths were tragic and will cause families to suffer extraordinary pain. It is very likely that these families will turn to the legal system to achieve some kind of justice. Wrongful death lawsuits are generally a popular tool for families who have lost loved ones in mass shooting attacks. Families turn to wrongful death attorneys to help them hold negligent parties responsible.

Determining liability after a mass shooting can be difficult, especially in situations like the one in Las Vegas. Details of the massacre are still emerging, but it appears as though one man who was armed with dozens of assault weapons opened fire on a concert music festival from the comfort of his Las Vegas hotel suite. The shooter is now deceased, and the reason why he committed such a brutal and violent crime has yet to be determined. If families of the Las Vegas shooting victims want justice and compensation for their suffering, who can they hold accountable? There is no seemingly obvious answer.

Gun laws in America make it difficult for victims of gun violence to get the justice they deserve. Manufacturers and dealers are generally immune from liability for crimes that are committed with the weapons they make and sell. There are also very few restrictions and regulations about purchasing weapons. The restrictions and laws that are in place are also fairly easy to circumvent.

This means that it is easy to buy guns and hard to hold anyone other than the user accountable.

Here, the shooter is no longer alive. He was either killed by police or took his own life just before police arrived on the scene (details are still unclear). Reports indicate that he had at least 23 guns in his Las Vegas hotel room, many of which were assault-style weapons. It is also reported that he purchased 33 guns in the past year. Laws in America protect the people who manufactured the weapons used in this massacre.

Laws in America protect the people who sold the weapons used in this massacre. The families of the 59 victims who lost their lives because of these guns may be left without legal recourse.

While some blame the guns and our country’s lax gun laws for this devastating event, others blame the hotel for their lack of security measures. Can the victims’ families hold the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino responsible (at least in part) for their loss? Was the hotel negligent in this case?

Generally, businesses have a duty to protect their patrons against foreseeable criminal acts. This duty is usually upheld by establishing and maintaining a security presence. When businesses fail to provide adequate security, they could potentially be responsible for injuries that occur as a result. Las Vegas hotels and casinos are not exempt from this duty. However, determining just how far hotels must go to provide security and establish a safe environment is difficult.

Hotels are required to establish security to prevent foreseeable criminal activity and harm. In most cases, hotels will not be liable for injuries that occur when a third party commits a criminal act that is not foreseeable. When is a criminal act foreseeable? Can a lack of security, which is argued in the Las Vegas mass shooting, actually create an environment where criminality could be foreseeable? According to a Las Vegas court, yes.

The court in Doud v. Las Vegas Hilton Corp. found that a hotel could be liable for crime-related injuries on their property because their lack of security “provide[d] a fertile environment for criminal conduct such as robbery and assault.” Specifically, the hotel’s “negligence in failing to provide adequate security created a favorable environment for criminal activity.” The court believed that a jury could draw the conclusion that the hotel’s lack of security essentially created a foreseeable risk of harm.

So a hotel’s negligent security could essentially create an environment that is conducive to criminal activity. Can the families of the Las Vegas massacre victims use this argument as a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit against the hotel? It may be difficult to use this argument successfully since the victims were not actually patrons or guests of the hotel. A skilled wrongful death attorney would have to establish that the hotel owed the victims some duty. Absent this duty, there can be no negligence.

The Las Vegas shooting victims’ families are all suffering incomprehensible pain and grief in the wake of this tragedy. Families who lose loved ones in accidents are generally offered some sort of reprieve when they file wrongful death lawsuits. Finding someone who is responsible and holding them accountable may not bring their family member back, but it can offer some financial and emotional relief. In situations like these, it can be difficult to find an appropriate defendant.

---------------------

Richard Morse is the co-partner of Injury Trial Lawyers, APC. As a leading San Diego, California personal injury firm, ITL has recovered millions for those injured due to someone else’s negligence. Call today for a free consultation.

Phone: 619-525-7007
Email: info@getinjuryanswers.com

Related Articles

Connecticut's Best Lawyers 2022


by Best Lawyers

Our Connecticut's Best Lawyers 2022 publication features top-ranked legal talent in Hartford, New Haven, New London and Stamford.

Connecticut's Best Lawyers 2022

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 16th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ and 1st Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

All Eyes to the Ones on the Rise


by Rebecca Blackwell

Our 2023 honorees recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch™ in America tell us more about how their path to law formed, what lead them to their practice areas and how they keep steadfast in their passion to serve others.

Person walking between glass walls towards window

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australia


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australi

The Key to Success? Be Prepared to Walk Away


by Sara Collin

Oatley Vigmond partner and The Best Lawyers in Canada awardee Brian M. Cameron discusses his illustrious career and techniques for trial and negotiation that have led to his success.

Man with grey hair and red tie