The AP reports that 13-year-old Gruening Middle School student Elijah Harrison in the head and neck area while at Ft. Richardson birthday celebration at an Alaska residence. Here are the legal issues that Elijah’s family should be considering:
First, cooperate with the police. Find out: (1) who brought the gun to the residence; and (2) how the shooting took place. Get the final police report and read it carefully. Though you are grieving, this is not the time to let people cover up facts.
Second, remember that Alaska allows you to bring a claim for the death of your child. It also allows his estate to bring a claim for his death. If the home owner, or one of the kids, was negligent in allowing your son to be injured, they should be held accountable. Whomever owned this residence probably has homeowner’s insurance that will likely help with this loss. Though money is no substitute for your child, it might be the only justice available. And, you can always use the money to educate/ensure that other kids don’t get hurt.
Third, remember that the statute of limitations for claims like this – for adults like you – is two years. In other words, you must file a lawsuit, or resolve your claim against whomever is at fault, within two years of the shooting. Otherwise, your rights will go away and you will have no chance to ensure that other kids don’t get hurt.
I strongly advise you to talk to an attorney – now.
Elijah’s family is in our prayers.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Wrongful Death.