Jurors in California have awarded $19.7 million in damages to the parents of a young boy who shot himself in the head with a loaded gun that was left out near a toy box by his great-grandfather.
Although the boy survived the gunshot between the eyes, he suffered severe and permanent brain damage. Now 8-years-old, he needs 24-7 medical care and assistance with daily activities.
As the personal injury lawyer representing the boy’s parents explained the damage amount was reached via careful consideration of not just the pain and suffering of the actual shooting, but a meticulously-crafted life care plan that takes into account his medical bills, the cost of previous surgeries, the kind of care he will need in the future, the lost wages he has suffered, the lost wages his parents have incurred and the loss of life events, like having a relationship with his parents or ever starting a family of his own. The damages will be placed in a special trust that will be drawn from throughout the boy’s life to help cover his expenses. He is expected to incur $10 million in medical expenses over the course of his life.
Exactly how much the family will actually receive is questionable. It’s unlikely the great-grandfather has the personal means to cover such an enormous expense. Likely the damages will be collected from a homeowners’ insurance liability policy, considering this tragic injury occurred at the great-grandparents’ home. Most standard homeowners insurance policies allow for liability insurance, which helps to protect a policyholder’s assets and covers their defense costs in the event of a personal injury lawsuit stemming from injuries or damage to others on the property.
According to KRCTV-7, the shooting occurred in February 2011. At the time, the boy was just 2-years-old and he was dropped off by his father at his great-grandparents’ home for a Sunday breakfast they’d been planning. The child’s great-grandfather had slept on the couch in the family room the night before. It was his habit to sleep in that room – which is where the grandchildren/ great-grandchildren played and kept their toys – with a loaded pistol on the carpet, so it would be within reach during the night. In the morning, he got up from the couch. However, he left the gun unattended on the floor. He failed to secure it, in accordance with the law, either in a locked container or with a trigger-locking device on it.
The boy arrived at the home and went straight to the living room to play. Within just a few minutes, the sound of the gunshot echoed throughout the home. The little boy had picked up the gun and accidentally shot himself in the forehead.
His mother now says that while the great-grandfather’s actions were negligent, “Life isn’t fair and we’re trying our best to move on.” She has worked to spread the word about the accident that led to her son’s condition in the hopes gun owners will be more cautious of how they store their firearms, especially when there are children in the vicinity.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
$19 million dollar verdict in child shooting lawsuit, Sept. 30, 2016, By Josh Copitch, KRCR News Channel 7
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