Premises liability and firearms

Tenants who own firearms or who may have people on premises they rent who are carrying firearms as well as residential and commercial landlords should have a good understanding of West Virginia law regarding firearms and premises liability. It is also important to understand local law. If employees or other people invited onto the property have firearms and they cause injury to someone, whether accidental or deliberate, there could be legal liability for the property owner or the person responsible for the property.

Laws may vary among jurisdictions within the same state and may also differ depending on the type of premises. Landlords, tenants and property managers should discuss firearms policy and insurance provisions and how this will all be addressed in the lease. They should also understand any requirements regarding signage explaining firearms policies.

There should also be a discussion with the insurance company about whether additional coverage is necessary. Tenants, landlords and property managers should also understand the implications of permitting or forbidding firearms on the premises. Even if mass shootings are not a concern, accidental discharges or similar incidents may pose dangers.

A person who is injured by a firearm might want to look into the responsibility of the property owner, tenant or manager. Compensation from a civil lawsuit might help pay for medical expenses and lost wages from work, and injured victims may want to consult an attorney to discuss their rights and how to approach the lawsuit. In some cases, the responsible party or parties may offer to settle out of court. However, if the offer is insufficient and they have a strong case, the victims may want to pursue the civil suit.

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