Miss or Pass Thru Liability

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Nemo, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    You shoot and miss, or round passed through and hits uninvolved 3rd party. Are you on the hook for injury or death $$ damages ?

    Some say no.

    Nemo

    http://concealednation.org/2017/06/are-you-liable-for-a-pass-through-or-missed-shot/


     
  2. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    I might try to make a case for (C) as the only reason I'd be shooting at anyone would be if they were committing a felony worth shooting over*. I'm aware of several instances of where prosecutors have made the charge if police officers happen to miss and instead strike bystanders.

    For defense against a criminal charge, I'd point to O.C.G.A. § 16-3-24.2 or in certain cases, § 16-3-22

    * IOW don't shoot anyone with a anything defined as a 'dangerous weapon' ... I think.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017

  3. GoDores

    GoDores Like a Boss

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    I agree with the author that a person should ultimately not be held liable for inadvertently injuring an innocent bystander in an otherwise legitimate self-defense shooting. But...

    The cited legal texts and holding from a criminal case in West Virginia would be at best persuasive, not binding, authority in a civil case in Georgia (unless the texts have been incorporated into the OCG by the General Assembly or there's been a similar ruling in a similar case by a Georgia appellate court - I don't know whether either is the case). Basically courts here may listen to the text in those citations but they're not required to do so. And they certainly don't preclude the filing of a lawsuit.

    So if you're in this situation, the innocent bystander absolutely could sue you. Maybe the trial court will dismiss the case, but it'll be after you pay an attorney thousands of dollars to file a response and a motion to dismiss. Or maybe the bystander gets a bench trial in front of an anti-self-defense judge who finds you liable for a kajillion dollar verdict. It gets overturned on appeal, after several years and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, none of which you can recover from the plaintiff.

    Or the plaintiff convinces a jury that even though you shot your attacker in self-defense, you were still "negligent" or "imprudent" with the shot that hit him, and the persuasive authority cited in the article doesn't apply, and you're on the hook for a huge judgment. After all, a basic rule of gun safety is to be sure of your target and what's behind it, and you must know that since you regularly participate in firearms forums [wherin plaintiff's attorney introduces all your posts here into evidence to prove you should've known better]. GPDO will of course be outraged by the verdict and we'll complain about the incompetent judge and jury, but that won't reduce the judgment one penny.

    Ultimately you need to save your own life and that of your loved ones first, and worry about a civil suit later. But I think it's a pretty ridiculous claim that you can't be sued by an innocent bystander if you shoot him while doing so. It'd be much more accurate to say that you should expect to be sued, but that you have reasonably good (but by no means guaranteed) odds of winning, after you've paid between a lot and a whole, whole lot to an attorney to defend you.
     
  4. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

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    I'd like to have a laser on my firearm for more accurate shots, but I can just hear this in the courtroom:

    "You had a laser and you STILL hit an innocent bystander?"

    Just because you have a laser doesn't mean you won't have inaccuracies due to quickly moving and shooting. On the other hand, mere citizens have far less hits on non-targets than police in self-defense shootings.
     
  5. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    I agree that it would be a negligence-based claim.
    Not strict liability.
    There has to be a fault, an inexcusably bad choice, on the part of the armed citizen, before the good guy would be held liable for accidentally hitting another good guy (or gal) while shooting at a dangerous violent felon.

    Negligence based torts not only involve questions of foreseeability (predicting the future) but also the question of proximate cause, which should consider questions of public policy and what kinds of choices are good for society generally (even if things didn't work out so well in this case.)
     
  6. mrhutch

    mrhutch Well-Known Member

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    The only way you would get charged or sued in Georgia is if you also were denied your self defense claim and criminally charged for the shooting to begin with.
     
  7. phaed

    phaed Active Member

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    legal gobbledygook aside, i believe every man is responsible for his actions, regardless of his reasons for taking those actions. what happened is between the shooter and the innocent bystander. if the bystander chooses to forgive the guy completely, that's up to him. if the bystander chooses to work out some arrangement with the shooter, that's between them both. if the bystander chooses to defend himself with his own gun, he'd be morally justified in doing so. it's all up to them. given that we are neither party involved, it's not my business, it's not your business, and there's certainly no justifiable reason to create a government that believes it's their business.
     
  8. GM404

    GM404 Well-Known Member

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    And this is the part that would worry me the most. Depending on where you are, it will really be up to the jury to figure that out. A good attorney could argue both forseeability and proximate cause and not even have to try real hard. So, if I am ever in that situation, I am going to do my BEST to only hit the intended target. But...I do understand that accidents happen.
     
  9. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

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    Every dog for himself and "my justice may not be your justice" would simply be chaos. If there is a true STANDARD for justice (and I believe there is), this is why governments must exist, to uphold those standards, so that even the poor and weak can receive the same justice as the rich and strong. It really is that simple.

    Governments made of men certainly will always have flaws, some more than others, but their purpose is to uphold justice and punish evil doers. Yes, an often poor substitute for the Eternal Judge who will one day rule on Earth with perfect justice.
     
  10. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    So we're just supposed to completely ignore the fact that someone caused Mr. Shooter to need to defend himself (I'm going to assume legally)?
    I can't help but notice only two of the three parties involved are mentioned by you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  11. GoDores

    GoDores Like a Boss

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    :lol: We need to ignore a lot to live in Anarchy-land, primarily the fact that it doesn't exist because almost nobody wants to live there.
     
  12. GM404

    GM404 Well-Known Member

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    Stop with the facts, man. We will have none of that! :lol:
     
  13. phaed

    phaed Active Member

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    you might want to ignore both incidents if they don't involve you.

    and yes, i see it as two separate incidents. as for the first, the victim there is perfectly justified in defending himself. however, as stated concerning the second, no one is justified in shooting an innocent bystander, regardless of his reasoning.
     
  14. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    Thankfully, I live in a more rational world. In yours, it seems that the person who started the whole unfortunate incident bears no responsibility for the chain of events he's started.

    The context seems to be that if a madman should happen to wildly into a crowd (including me) and someone comes to the rescue by shooting said miscreant but instead I am wounded, that I should go after the one who tried to defend against the madman rather than the one who set the whole shebang in motion.

    Yeah, I don't think so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  15. phaed

    phaed Active Member

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    feel free to quote where i said any of that. and your world is only rational in your own mind.

    on the other hand, you're providing excellent examples of 2 things that plague society: 1) folks that can't mind their own business, and 2) folks trying to make us not responsible for our own actions.

    i can quote it if you need.
     
  16. phaed

    phaed Active Member

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    Anarchistan or Galt's Gulch have much better rings to them. and, it's incorrect to say that no one wants to live there...just the current majority. for some reason you think that's relevant. you seem to believe that that if a majority believes a thing, that makes it right to force the remainder along with it.
     
  17. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    1) You seem quite adept at making a gunman not responsible for the results of his actions.
    2) I didn't do any quoting of you, EXCEPT that little part where you completely neglected to mention the one who started the whole unfortunate series of events in action; our hypothetical gunman.
     
  18. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    "... no one wants to live there ... just the current majority."

    Are you saying that some hypothetical 'majority' wants to live in Galt's Gulch, or are you saying that just because the vast majority of people don't want to live in such a place that it doesn't make it wrong or less desirable?

    Humanity has had over 50 centuries to find out what works and what doesn't, including every sort of society imaginable. That the majority of the world rejects 'Galt's Gulch' speaks volumes (and I respect Ayn Rand's opinions).
     
  19. GoDores

    GoDores Like a Boss

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    I didn't say "no one", I said "almost nobody", and it's totally relevant. If 99+% of people don't want to live in the way you want them to live, it's not going to happen, whether it's "right" or not according to you.

    I don't recall the original residents of Galt's Gulch whining about being oppressed. They just went and built Galt's Gulch. It makes one wonder why those who want a real life Galt's Gulch don't do likewise.
     
  20. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Negligence

    I think an armed good citizen could be negligent in using deadly force in a way that is perfectly legal under the criminal codes involving self-defense however it could still be a tort --a civil wrong for which there could be a liability.

    I don't know whether it could be a crime of involuntary manslaughter or, if the innocent bystander died. Georgia has a very odd law that makes it a misdemeanor crime to cause somebody's death while doing a perfectly legal action *but* doing it "in an unlawful manner" --whatever that means.

    Using deadly force or attempting to use deadly force against a violent felon may be one of those situations that is generally perfectly legal but could, under certain circumstances, be done in an unlawful manner.

    What circumstances? Here's one such set:

    1-- Bad guy has a knife out and is threatening people, but hasn't actually drawn any blood yet.

    2- from your viewpoint, there are several innocent bystanders directly behind the knife guy.

    3-- if you moved 50 feet, you'd have a different angle that had a brick wall behind the bad guy and the closest other person five feet to the side of the felon.

    4- you're 25 yards away and armed with a 4" barreled, open-sighted carry pistol that you can generally keep an 8" group with at 50 feet, but with one or two flyers opening it up to 12" + for a ten-shot group.
    You almost never practice taking 25 yard shots with that gun.

    I say that if you choose to immediately take the shot from where you are, you are negligent.

    If your negligence results in an innocent person taking a bullet, you are in trouble. You, not the knife-wielding bad guy, will be held responsible for that.