Thousands of products that reach shelves each year contain dangerous defects. One of the many products that can cause deadly unintentional injuries if manufactured improperly is a firearm. According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV), nearly 500 people die each year from unintentional firearm injuries. These injuries can be caused by defective or faulty firearms.
While unintentional firearm injuries and deaths are often called accidents, they are in reality preventable disasters. At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our product liability attorneys are passionate about holding gun manufacturers accountable for their mistakes. We can litigate even the most complex defective firearm lawsuit.
Why Choose Us?
- Our Defective Firearm Practice Group Leader, Attorney David Selby II, has handled dozens of these cases over the years.
- David Selby II is the national Chair of the American Association for Justice’s Firearms Litigation Group.
- Our law firm led the plaintiffs’ class action that achieved a $239 million landmark settlement from gun manufacturer Taurus International for defective firearms.
Can a Gun Be Defective?
Firearms can contain all the same types of defects as other, less dangerous consumer products. If a manufacturer makes a mistake or is negligent when designing, manufacturing, or marketing a firearm, it can contain defects. Negligence means the failure to use ordinary care as required by a manufacturing company. Any error in the design, production, or labeling of a firearm can lead to a weapon that is unreasonably unsafe for consumers.
Examples of gun defects and malfunctions include:
- Accidental discharge
- Gun firing when dropped
- Discharge without pulling the trigger
- Overly sensitive trigger
- Faulty trigger mechanism
- Trigger safety failure
- Firearm backfiring
- Exploding gun
- Barrel failure
- Failure to fire
- Delayed discharge (“hangfire”)
- Inaccurate chamber indicator
- Gunstock deformity
Any type of firearm defect can cause extreme harm to an unsuspecting consumer, as well as anyone in the room if the gun unexpectedly fires, explodes, or malfunctions. According to a study in 2017, more than one-third (36.7 percent) of all nonfatal gun injuries are unintentional. While many unintentional gunfire injuries stem from issues such as children gaining access to unsecured weapons, others come from defective firearms.
Who Is Liable for a Defective Firearm?
Liability, or legal and financial responsibility, for a defective firearm injury, will depend on the circumstances. It may be possible to bring a product liability lawsuit or participate in a class action litigation against the manufacturer of the firearm for creating a faulty or defective product. The laws in your state may protect consumers by allowing for lawsuits against major firearm manufacturers and distributors. If so, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against one or more parties.
A defective firearm case could be based on one of the following legal theories:
- Negligence: the defendant failed to meet the required standards when designing, manufacturing, or selling the firearm. If the manufacturer committed an act or omission that a prudent party would not have in similar circumstances, it is guilty of negligence. Examples include failing to properly test the weapon prior to distribution or using defective parts in the design of the gun.
- Seller’s warranty: many states have specific laws or commercial codes that allow buyers to recover damages for a breach of warranty. If a firearm manufacturer guarantees that a product will work a certain way, but the product fails to perform up to expectations, a victim can use the seller’s warranty to hold the manufacturer responsible.
- Strict liability: an injured consumer may be able to pursue compensation through a strict liability theory if the item contained a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect that made the firearm more dangerous than it should have been when used for its intended purpose. Under this theory, the consumer does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent.
In many injury claims involving a defective firearm, the manufacturer of the weapon is named as the defendant. Major gun manufacturers such as Browning, Barrett, Smith & Wesson, and Winchester have all faced liability lawsuits for defective products. However, there is a federal law in place that protects firearm manufacturers from many civil claims, known as the PLCAA Gun Law.
What Is the PLCAA Gun Law?
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a federal law that went into effect in 2005. It protects firearm manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes are committed with their products. However, these parties can still be held liable for injuries and losses that result from defective weapons, breach of warranty, criminal misconduct, and other torts. The PLCAA most likely would not interfere with your right to seek compensation for an injury caused by a defective or faulty gun.
A defective firearm can cause life-threatening injuries. A gunshot wound could prove fatal if it damages any of the vital organs or causes uncontrollable bleeding. A nonfatal gunshot wound can still cause significant pain, suffering, and disability. Potential injuries include spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and organ damage. Filing a defective firearm lawsuit can hold a manufacturer accountable for your injuries or the tragic loss of a loved one’s life due to a faulty product.
You and your family may be eligible for the following types of financial compensation:
- Medical bills to cover any injuries
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Losses of income and capacity to earn
- Disability accommodations
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Defective firearm buyback
- Free repairs or gun replacement
- Property damage caused by the defect
- Legal costs and attorney’s fees
- Wrongful death damages for a fatal firearm incident
Major gun manufacturers are notorious for fighting claims and denying liability for injuries caused by their defective products. You may need an attorney to help you go up against a manufacturer or its powerful legal team during a liability claim. An attorney can preserve your rights and help you fight for the compensation that you deserve for a serious or life-changing injury.
Contact Our Defective Firearm Injury Attorneys Today
Bailey & Glasser, LLP has the resources, technology, and experience to handle diverse litigation, from Defective Firearms and 3M Ear Plug Lawsuits to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination and Hologic Biozorb Lawsuits. If you or a loved one has been impacted, our attorneys can advocate for your rights during the claims process. Contact us online or call (877) 852-0342 to speak to an attorney today.