On the Extreme Wisdom radio show, Bruno Behrend and I briefly discussed some implications of a murder at a Burger King in Lake County. It turns out that the murder suspect had a prior criminal record which leaves local residents wondering why background checks weren't done. There is, of course, a lawsuit because Burger King "should pay" for their negligence.
Any murder is a tragedy, and this is no different. However, part of the typical lawyer advice is to go after money in a lawsuit and Burger King has money. Some of their claims, if true, certainly do indicate negligence. However, the idea that Burger King "must pay" is something that needs to be addressed.
No lawsuit will make Burger King pay for this death. Even if they were grossly negligent and could have done something reasonable, Burger King will not pay. Even if a jury awards the victim's family $10 billion dollars, Burger King will not pay. No executive, no store manager, nor middle management bean counter will pay one cent. The people who pay are Burger King's customers and society as a whole.
Every business has liability insurance. What this insurance does is protect you in a lawsuit. It's similar to car insurance. If you get into an accident, as long as you follow the terms of your policy and the settlement isn't above your limits, the insurance company pays and you are inconvenienced a bit to placate paper-pushing lawyers. As long as you have car insurance, you do not pay the price for car accidents. Sure, premiums go up, but they do not go up nearly enough to cover the cost of an accident.
Car insurance companies make money not on individual clients but on the industry as a whole. It isn't likely all of their customers will get into a car accident so they spread the cost over all their customers. While "high-risk" drivers pay a little more for insurance, by and large the entire pool of customers pay for those who cause accidents.
Medical malpractice insurance is even more problematic. Every doctor with the same type of practice pays the same as every other doctor in that same type of practice. The world's best surgeon pays the same price as a night-school butcher surgeon. What this means is that good doctors pay liability into a liability insurance bucket to cover the lawsuits for bad doctors. However, more importantly, businesses pass down costs to consumers when they set their prices. That means you've already paid the price for that settlement when you saw the doctor. Not a red cent comes out of the doctor's salary or estate.