When a resident of New Orleans is injured or killed by a firearm – whether intentionally or accidentally – the law greatly constrains the circumstances under which the manufacturer or seller of the firearm may be sued for making or distributing an unreasonably dangerous product. While a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be pursued against the individual who actually discharged the weapon and possibly other parties, the manufacturer and seller will usually be exempt from liability.
While a firearm may appear to have the characteristics necessary to classify it as a dangerous product, the Louisiana legislature has specifically stated in Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.60 that the Louisiana Products Liability Act was not designed to impose liability on a manufacturer or seller of firearms for the improper use of a properly designed and manufactured product. The statute further states that the potential of a firearm to cause serious bodily injury, property damage, or death when discharged does not make it defective in design for purposes of imposing liability upon the manufacturer or seller.
Firearms are dangerous by nature. To impose liability upon the weapon’s manufacturer, the claimant in most cases must prove that the firearm had some defect in its design or construction – above and beyond its basic nature – that caused it to be unreasonably dangerous. For example, if a specific firearm had been defectively assembled at the factory, or had a design defect that caused it to accidentally discharge, the manufacturer may be liable for a defective product lawsuit. However, such cases are rare.
While firearm manufacturers and sellers can rarely be held liable for firearm injuries, an individual who negligently or intentionally injures or kills another person through use of a firearm may be liable. An experienced personal injury attorney should examine the specific facts surrounding such injuries to determine if a lawsuit is warranted.
If you have suffered a personal injury, we would be happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.