D.C. Considering Requirement for Gun Owners to Purchase Liability Insurance

D.C. Lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this week which would require gun owners to maintain insurance policies of at least$250,000. The policies would be in place for gunshot victims, in order to help pay for any potential medical costs, and also to promote gun safety.

The bill is intended to cover, “any damages resulting from negligent acts, or willful acts that are not undertaken in self-defense.” So far, at least six states have introduced similar gun liability insurance laws, but as of mid-February, none of the states have actually passed such measures.

Gun owner liability policies are already offered through organizations such as the National Rifle Association. The only difference that would occur as a result of this bill, and those similar to it, is that in addition to creating a potential fund, the decision to carry coverage would no longer be voluntary. It is estimated that medical care for those killed or injured by gunfire in 2010 cost an estimated $3.2 billion.

Gun owners are already criminally and civilly liable for their conduct, as well as potentially liable for any damage or injuries caused by their guns. The act of requiring an insurance policy merely ensures that there is an accessible fund available for victims and their families to make claims against.

The obvious aim of these types of laws is to provide some sort of compensation for the victims of gun violence or accidents. Unfortunately, what most Americans are probably grappling with is a solution to the recent large scale tragedies, which do not seem to be solved by merely requiring insurance policies. Certainly these policies may act in the same manner as car accident policies, in providing coverage to pay for medical bills. But unlike in car accidents, those harmed by guns may not be able to walk away from the scene, and certainly in the most extreme cases, insurance in either case isn’t going to bring the person back.

Colorado lawmakers are also considering various proposals related to gun safety. Earlier this week, a Senate committee passed a bill which would make sellers and manufacturers of assault-style weapons liable for crimes committed with the guns they produce and sell. The bill would make sellers and manufacturers of semi-automatic rifles liable for suit for the acts committed with guns that “negligently entrusted” to someone they “reasonably should have known might use the weapon to cause bodily injury.” The bill would act as a sort of back up insurance plan for situations in which background checks are unable to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a gun, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain & suffering, or wrongful death, among other claims. When a person is determined to be liable for having caused your personal injuries, they may be ordered to pay compensatory and, in some cases, punitive damages. The purpose behind these mechanisms is an attempt to put you back into the place you would have been if the injury was not suffered. This is sometimes referred to as making a person “whole” again.

If you or a loved one has been injured in Maryland or the Washington D.C. area, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. You can contact us through our website, or by calling us at 1-800-654-1949 to discuss your various legal options during your free and confidential initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

3 Pedestrian Deaths in 3 Weeks in Montgomery County, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 27, 2013
Class Action over Alleged Shuddering of Ford F150s, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 20, 2013
City Argues the Police Had No Affirmative Duty to Assist Civilian Who Stopped Spree Killer, Suffered Injury in the Process, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 12, 2013

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