As a Victim of Shooting at a Public Place, can You Sue the Property Owner?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if a loved one dies from the injuries sustained in a serious accident while the case is pending?”


Shootings at public places have been on the rise in North Carolina lately, but do victims have the right to recover damages through civil litigation by bringing a lawsuit against the owner of the business or property where the shooting occurred?

hospital-Charlotte-Monroe-Statesville-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-300x200Yes, victims may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit not only against the shooter but also third parties, such as the business/property owner, who may have been negligent. Often, negligent security measures are to blame for allowing a shooter to hurt others in an area where they otherwise would have been stopped and prevented from attacking people.


Shootings in North and South Carolina Over the Weekend

Two people were killed and more than a dozen were shot in three shootings at public places in North and South Carolina during the January 24-26 weekend, according to the Charlotte Observer. The shootings occurred at a bar, restaurant, and a mall.

  • A deadly shooting at Mac’s Lunge, a bar in Hartsville, South Carolina, killed two people and injured four others.
  • Six people were shot at Thelma’s Restaurant in Salisbury, North Carolina.
  • A minor was shot at Hanes Mall, a mall in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Can You Sue Anyone for Injuries or Death Caused by Shooting at a Public Place?

Depending on the circumstances of the shooting, you may file a personal injury claim against the owner of the property if they failed to ensure your safety on the premises. Similarly, surviving family members of a shooting victim may be able to sue the property owner via a wrongful death claim.

A Charlotte personal injury attorney can investigate the facts of the shooting to determine whether the commercial property owner had any knowledge of the crime. Then, your lawyer will be able to establish negligence on the part of the owner:

  • Negligent security failing to detect a gun being brought onto the premises.
  • Having problems with gun violence on the property in the past; and
  • Being aware of gun violence in the area/neighborhood/city.

Under North Carolina law, owners of commercial property must take reasonable steps to prevent putting patrons in harm’s way on their premises. The odds of a patron being injured can be reduced when adequate security measures are in place.

All too often, when investigating shootings at public places, lawyers find that property owners negligently ignored their security needs. That means that the victim can hold the owner accountable for their injury or a family member’s death.

While no amount of money can undo your injury or bring back your loved one, it will punish the negligent property owner and send a message to all other commercial property owners.


Was the Shooting at a Commercial Property Reasonably Foreseeable?

In order to recover damages through a premises liability claim against the bar, nightclub, restaurant, shopping mall, or another commercial property where the shooting occurred, your lawyer will have to prove that the incident was reasonably foreseeable by:

  • Gathering evidence of prior similar crimes at the public place or in the area;
  • Obtaining crime statistics for the neighborhood;
  • Collecting statements from people who witnessed the shooting;
  • Gathering the victim’s medical records; and
  • Getting the police investigation file.

Contact our personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to begin investigating your shooting and identify potentially liable parties other than the shooter. Call us now at 704-370-2828 to speak with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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