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Many Americans use guns for hunting, recreational shooting, or for personal safety. However, firearms can be dangerous, and failing to take proper precautions when handling firearms may often lead to serious injury or even death.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an accidental gunshot, you may have mounting medical bills in addition to your physical and emotional injuries. You should contact an experienced accidental gunshot lawyer from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
ACCIDENTAL GUNSHOT INJURY FACTS
- Approximately 430 people are killed due to unintentional firearm discharges in the United States per year
- The highest rates of accidental gunshot deaths are among young boys and men, aged 10-29. In a quarter of accidents, alcohol consumption was involved.
- Sadly, children, especially adolescents, who find firearms, may often be injured by accidental firearm discharges.
- There are a variety of causes for accidental gunshot injuries and deaths, including reckless handling of firearms, haphazard storage of firearms, consumption of drugs or alcohol while handling firearms, reckless hunting practices, inexperienced or poor handling of a firearm, misfires, or defective firearms.
Read More: Who Is Liable for an Accidental Shooting?
CAN I SEEK COMPENSATION AFTER BEING INJURED BY AN ACCIDENTAL GUNSHOT?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by an accidental gunshot, you may be entitled to compensation if another person was responsible for the accidental discharge. Generally, you may be able to seek compensation if the at-fault party behaved negligently. Negligent behavior involving a firearm may include careless handling, such as a gun shop owner failing to ensure a firearm is not loaded before handling it, or firing the weapon recklessly, such as celebratory gunfire. If your claim is based on negligence, you must be able to prove that negligent behavior caused the accident, and if not for this behavior, the accident would not have happened.
You may also be able to file a claim for compensation if the accident was caused by a defect present in the weapon. Manufacturers must ensure their products are safe when used as intended. If a manufacturer fails to take the proper steps to ensure their products are safe and free of potentially harmful defects, they may be liable. If the accident was caused by a design flaw, the manufacturer may also be liable if the firearm could have been designed in such a way that would have prevented the accident from occurring.
If your claim is based on the negligent behavior of another, your accidental gunshot attorney may file a lawsuit claiming that the other party negligently caused your injuries and that you are therefore entitled to compensation. To prove negligence, four elements generally need to be proven: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
First, it must be proven that the party responsible for the accidental discharge of the firearm had a duty of care towards the victim. This means that the responsible party had an obligation to act or behave in a certain manner. For example, a person handling a firearm has a responsibility to do so safely. Every person also has a duty not to point a firearm at someone else even in jest or because the weapon is thought to be unloaded.
Breach of Duty
Second, it must be proven that the party responsible for the accidental discharge of the firearm breached the duty of care. A breach of duty of care is a failure to take proper precautions or to behave in a safe manner. A person who has consumed alcohol and waves a firearm around, firing it into the air may be likely breaching their duty of care towards others, for example.
The third element that must generally be proven in a negligence claim is causation, meaning that the person responsible for the accidental discharge of the firearm’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the accident. This means if not for their negligent behavior, the accident would not have occurred.
Finally, it must be proven that the victim was injured as a result of the accident or otherwise suffered damages. In the case of a person drunkenly firing their weapon into the air, it must be proven that the victim was injured as a result of this negligent behavior. If the victim was killed as a result of the accident, damages are generally assumed to exist.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM
Consult an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to an accidental gunshot, you should consult an accidental gunshot lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to help you determine if negligence was involved or if the accident may have been caused by a defect in the firearm. An attorney with experience helping accidental gunshot victims may be able to use this experience and understanding of relevant laws to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Once an attorney has agreed to take your case, they may begin to investigate the accident. Their investigation may be able to help them determine the facts of the case, such as who was responsible for firing the gun, how the accident occurred, and other factors that may have contributed to the accidental discharge. During the investigation, your attorney may interview witnesses who may have seen the accident occur, examine medical records and police reports, as well as determine how much compensation you may be entitled to.
Once your attorney has concluded any investigation, your lawyer may then begin settlement negotiations with the other party or their insurance company to avoid the expense and time involved in a trial. This claim may be accepted or denied, with the insurance company often denying the initial offer. If the claim is denied, the insurer may then make a counteroffer. Your attorney may be able to use evidence gathered during the investigation to help support your claim. If a settlement offer can be agreed upon by both sides, a settlement may be reached, preventing the case from going to trial, and compensation will be delivered to the attorney to then disburse to you.
If no settlement offer can be agreed upon, your accidental gunshot claim may go to trial instead. If so, your attorney may represent you and present your claim, along with the evidence supporting your claim. The jury will then decide the amount of compensation, if any, to be awarded.
WHAT COMPENSATION MAY I BE ENTITLED TO FOR MY ACCIDENTAL GUNSHOT INJURIES?
In personal injury cases such as accidental gunshot incidents, the victim may generally claim both economic and non-economic damages.
You may be able to seek compensation for costs related to any medical expenses suffered by an accidental gunshot, such as hospital stays, treatments, and therapy. Compensation may also be sought for future medical costs if the injuries require ongoing treatment.
Loss of income
You may be able to seek compensation for lost wages if you missed any work because of your injuries or while seeking treatment for injuries caused by the accident.
Loss of potential income
If you are no longer able to work due to injuries suffered as a result of the accidental gunshot, or your spouse or parent was killed, you may be able to seek compensation for the loss of potential income.
Pain and suffering
You may be able to seek compensation for the physical and emotional pain and stress caused by the accident. This type of compensation is based on the severity and type of injuries suffered, and the impact they may have had on your quality of life.
If you have lost a loved one due to an accident, you may be able to seek compensation for the loss of companionship if the victim was your spouse, or loss of parental guidance and influence if the victim was your parent.
Read More: Wrongful Death Lawyers
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
There are certain legal time limits restricting how long you have to file a claim after an accident, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations dictates how long you may be able to file a claim seeking any compensation you may be entitled to. After this time period has expired, you may not be able to file a claim. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but generally, the statute of limitations placed on personal injury cases is two years in many states, while it may vary from one to three years in other states. The statute of limitations typically begins to count down from the date the accident occurred.
However, the statute of limitations may be delayed if the victim is a minor, until they become an adult, at which time the statute of limitations would then begin to run. It may also be tolled if the presence of negligence that caused the accident is not discovered until a later date. In this case, the statute of limitations may not begin until the negligent behavior is discovered or should have been discovered.
CONSULT THE ACCIDENTAL GUNSHOT ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our accidental gunshot injury lawyers may be able to help you if you or your loved one have been injured by the accidental discharge of a firearm. Our experienced accidental gunshot attorneys have years of experience helping our clients pursue the maximum compensation they may be entitled to after being injured.