Accidental Gun Death

Last updated on: January 28, 2021


In 2018, 458 people died because of an accidental gun injury. These tragic accidents can leave loved ones devastated and left to deal with unexpected financial and personal loss.

The attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience representing gun accident victims and helping their families seek the compensation they deserve. Call (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced accidental gun death lawyers.


  • Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 0 to 19) in the United States.
  • In 2020, there were unintentional shootings by over 220 children, resulting in 92 deaths and 135 injuries. 
  • Shelter-in-place orders during the coronavirus pandemic have led to major spikes in accidental shootings at home by children. Deadly unintentional shootings were up 43% in March and April compared to the same months in the previous two years.
  • Around 77% of accidental gun deaths happen in the home.
  • From 2006 to 2016, almost 6,885 people in the US died from unintentional shootings. In 2016 alone, there were 495 incidents of accidental firearm deaths.
  • Nearly 40% of all unintentional shooting deaths among children 11-14 years of age occur in the home of a friend.
  • The presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of unintentional firearm-related death among children, especially if the firearm is loaded and kept unlocked.
  • The majority of people killed in firearm accidents are under age 24, and most of these young people are being shot by someone else, usually someone their own age.  The shooter is typically a friend or family member, often an older brother.
  • In 2019, one study found that for adults aged 60 or older alcohol was involved in 11.3% of unintentional gun deaths.


An accidental gun death can occur for several reasons. In general, children are more likely to be the victims of an accidental gun death. This may occur because they are not supervised, guns are not properly locked and stored away, and children are playing around when the gun accidentally fires.  Adults can also be the victims of an accidental gun injury. Hunting accidents, intoxication, and carelessness can all result in fatal gun accidents.


Liability for an accidental shooting that results in death will likely depend on state-specific laws. More than one party may be held responsible for an accidental gun death, but in general, the following parties may be liable for an accidental gun death:

Gun Owner

Each state has specific laws on what gun owners must do to be considered responsible owners. Several states require that gun owners care for and store their guns safely. If a gun owner keeps a loaded gun where a child could gain access to it, in some states, the gun owners may be partly liable for an accidental shooting death even if they were not the ones to pull the trigger.

Gun Operator

If an accidental shooting occurs because of a gun operator’s negligence, then the operator will likely be at least partially at fault. This may include situations where a gun operator is walking and carelessly discharges the gun, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or points the gun at someone without intending to shoot.

Gun Manufacturer

When firearm owners take all safety precautions and an accidental shooting still occurs, it may be the result of a defectively manufactured gun. In 2005, legislation was passed to shield gun manufacturers from most liability in gun deaths. However, a gun manufacturer may still be liable if a gun is defective and that defect results in deadly injury. For example, if a gun is manufactured with an incorrectly installed trigger, and that manufacturing defect causes the gun to fire and kill a person, the gun manufacturer may be liable.


Unfortunately, accidental shooting deaths can happen to children when they visit their friends’ homes and play with their parents’ guns. When a person is killed in an accidental shooting while visiting the home of someone else, the homeowner may be liable if the homeowner failed to lock up and secure the weapon. Homeowners who fail to secure their guns may also be liable if a child takes the gun elsewhere and injures or kills another person with it.


Our accidental gun death attorneys are here to handle your case through every part of the process. States have different requirements for filing your claim, deadlines that must be met, and experts that need to be consulted to determine the potential damages you may be able to receive. We have extensive experience investigating, negotiating, settling, and going to court for wrongful death claims.

At Zinda Law Group, we recognize that this may be one of the most difficult times of your life. Let us handle your legal case and provide the knowledge and support to move your case forward. We want to help you and your loved ones receive the compensation you may deserve.


What Compensation May I Receive?

Our attorneys are frequently asked what type of compensation victims’ loved ones can receive. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an accidental gun death, the decedent’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim, which helps the surviving loved ones recover compensation for a death that was caused by an individual’s negligence or intentional act.

Determining the exact amount of compensation can be very complicated. Experts, such as economists and actuaries, will often be used to help determine the dollar amount the deceased individual contributed and would have continued to provide if not for their death. You may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages from a wrongful death lawsuit.

Economic damages

Economic damages include the tangible financial contributions the deceased would have provided to the survivors if they had not died. The calculation may be based, in part, on the deceased’s age, health prior to death, earning capacity. The age of the deceased’s children and the type of assistance that would have been provided can also be factors to determine the value.

These may include:

  • Loss of expected earnings, including the amount the deceased would have earned over their career
  • Loss of benefits, such as health insurance, dental coverage, and pension plans
  • Loss of inheritance, including the inability to accumulate money to provide an inheritance to beneficiaries
  • Medical and funeral expenses, including medical care from the accident that resulted in the death of the victim
  • Value of the goods and services that the deceased provided for survivors
Non-economic damages

Although non-economic damages may be harder to calculate, they often have more value than economic damages. Non-economic damages can be used to help with the devastating loss of a loved one and the nurturing and supportive role they played in the lives of their survivors. These damages could include:

  • Pain and suffering for the deceased’s survivors
  • Loss of consortium of a spouse
  • Loss of companionship including support, care, and guidance from the deceased
Punitive damages

In cases where a defendant is seriously reckless or malicious and those actions resulted in the deceased’s death, then punitive damages may be awarded in some circumstances. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. However, not all states allow punitive damages in wrongful death claims. An accidental gun death lawyer may be able to assist in determining whether punitive damages are applicable in your situation.

Who Has the Right to Compensation from an Accidental Gun Death Settlement?

Most states have laws on who can benefit from compensation from a wrongful death settlement. They usually require that the individuals suffer as a result of the deceased’s death. However, a spouse or life partner, minor or dependent children, and are generally entitled to compensation.

The right to compensation will depend on state law. Some states will allow other family members or anyone who suffers as a result of the death to bring an action for wrongful death.

You should consult an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

If you want to file a lawsuit, you need to be aware of the time limits, or statutes of limitations, that are in place. Each state sets its own statute of limitations on how much time you have to file a claim for your injuries. It is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to help you navigate the filing timeline and help you receive the compensation you may deserve.


At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have helped many victims’ loved ones get the compensation they deserved after losing a loved one in a tragic gun accident. We understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one, but we want to help ensure you receive the financial and emotional support you deserve to assist you during a difficult and unexpected time.

We believe that you should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

If you lost a loved one in a gun accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced accidental gun death attorneys.

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