My son shot himself with my gun, can I be charged for his death? My gun was locked away in my safe at home, key was hidden. However, my son found my gun and shot himself. He never left a note. I am being charged for his death.
A wrongful death action may lie for a suicide. Where defendant owed a duty of due care to the victim and defendant’s act or omission was a substantial factor in causing the suicide, defendant is not exonerated from liability on the theory that the suicide was the result of the victim’s own act (i.e., suicide is not a superseding cause of defendant’ s negligence; see ¶ 2:2454). [See Jacoves v. United Merchandising Corp. (1992) 9 CA4th 88, 111–112, 11 CR2d 468, 482–483;]. Any person having lawful possession and control of a handgun is immune from liability arising from a third person’s criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun so long as (a) the third person was not authorized to access the handgun, and (b) a secure gun storage or safety device (below) rendered the handgun inoperable at the time the third person accessed it. [18 USC § 922(z)(3)(A),(B),(C)(i); see 15 USC § 7903(9)—“unlawful misuse” is conduct in violation of a statute, ordinance or regulation]. However, this immunity does not bar an action for negligence per se (see ¶ 2:1845 ff.) or negligent entrustment. A “secure gun storage or safety device” is either an installed device that must be deactivated to discharge the firearm; a device incorporated into the firearm design that prevents discharge by anyone not having access to the device; or a locked safe, case or other firearm storage device.
However, the parent-child relationship does not itself render parents vicariously liable for their minor child’s torts. Any vicarious liability attaches to the parents only under general tort law principles (e.g., potential respondeat superior). However, parental liability may lie under any of the following circumstances: The parent has knowledge of the child’s prior misconduct; The parent signed the child’s driver’s license application or the child drives the parent’s car with permission; The child is guilty of willful misconduct; The child was given access to firearms ;The child defaced another’s property with graffiti; or the child is convicted of a crime and ordered to pay restitution to the victim. Parents are liable for their minor child’s torts if they knew or had reason to know (typically, from past misconduct) it was necessary to control and supervise the child to prevent future harm to others and
they failed to exercise reasonable care to do so. It is best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer in order to assist in your personal injury case.
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