Accidental Shooting Lawyers in Denver
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Firearms can be important tools as a means of self-defense or for recreational purposes. However, every gun owner does not always exercise proper care in handling, using, or storing their firearm to prevent the risk of accidental shootings. When firearm owners fail to properly store or maintain their weapons, or when unsupervised children obtain access to firearms, serious or even fatal injuries can result, leaving behind a lifetime of physical and emotional pain for victims and their families. That’s why it’s important to call accidental shooting lawyers in Denver after an accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accidental shooting in Denver, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced accidental shooting injury lawyers who can help you determine the best steps to take following your accident. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
What is an “accidental shooting?”
Every year, thousands of Americans are injured by firearms, whether caused by intentional or unintentional shootings, with nearly 500 Americans killed across the United States each year by accidental shootings alone. If a person is careless, inexperienced, or intoxicated while handling a firearm, they may handle the weapon in an inappropriate and dangerous manner and fire a shot without meaning to do so. While this may not be a crime in some cases, the negligent party may still be liable for injuries and damages that are caused by an accidental shooting.
Accidental shooting statistics
In the United States, it is fairly common for people to own guns. Surveys have found that 40 percent of Americans own a gun, and in Colorado, it is estimated that 45% of the population owns a firearm. Sadly, gun ownership does not always mean safe handling and training. In 2020, there were over 500 deaths due to accidental shootings. A study in 2017 found that 36.7% of injuries caused by firearms were accidental in nature, or in other words, not caused by assault or purposefully inflicted. Some of the leading causes of accidental shootings are playing with guns, believing the gun to be unloaded, and hunting.
Most common causes of an accidental shooting in DENVER, Colorado
Accidental shootings can be caused by a variety of negligent or reckless behavior by multiple parties, including:
- Inexperienced or careless handling of a firearm
- Reckless behavior while carrying a firearm
- Negligent storage of firearms by a homeowner
- Consuming alcohol or drugs while using a firearm
- Defective design or manufacturing of the gun
- Negligent or careless hunting methods
- Allowing an unsupervised child to obtain access to the gun
- Celebratory gunfire
While this list highlights many of the common causes of accidental shootings in Colorado, some of the most common causes of someone shooting accidentally or a firearm accidentally discharging include:
Reckless Handling of Firearms
Firearms are designed to injure or kill their target and should always be handled with care, even if the firearm is believed to be unloaded. Playing with firearms, waving them around or at people, or firing them without regard to one’s surroundings can easily result in an accident. Firearms should always be treated as if they are loaded, with due care taken to not point or aim them at anyone.
Many accidental shootings occur when the gun owner attempts to clean the weapon but fails to properly ensure it is not loaded. It is important to always ensure the weapon is unloaded before attempting to clean or perform any type of maintenance on a firearm.
Hunting is a popular pastime in Colorado and throughout the United States. However, the use of firearms in hunting also means that accidental shootings can occur. A hunter who fails to properly identify his target may end up shooting accidently at a fellow hunter, mistaking them for wildlife especially if the other hunter is not the proper clothing.
Firearms have an inherent ability to cause harm, and as a result, they should be handled carefully and with consideration. Handling a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be extremely dangerous, and this recklessness may result in an accidental shooting.
Firearms must be properly cleaned and maintained to ensure that they remain in proper working condition and do not accidently fire or suffer a mechanical failure when fired. In most cases, firearms should be cleaned every time after the owner has finished using the gun.
Who may be liable for my injuries?
There are many factors that influence who may be liable following an accidental shooting. These include the location at which the shooting occurred, who may have owned the weapon, and the type of weapon used. A key factor that may determine if you are able to seek compensation for any injuries you sustained as a result of an accidental shooting is whether negligence or reckless behavior played a role in the accident. This can make determining who may be liable after an accidental shooting a complex matter. Accidental shooting injury lawyers in Denver may be able to help you determine who may be liable if you have been injured due to an accidental shooting.
A homeowner may be liable for any of the injuries you suffered as a result of an accidental shooting that occurred in his or her home. For a homeowner to be liable, the accident must have occurred on the homeowner’s property, the weapon must have belonged to the homeowner, and the shooting must have been accidental. If the homeowner behaved in a negligent manner, they may be liable. Meanwhile, some examples of negligent behavior would be failing to properly maintain the weapon, cleaning the weapon while it is loaded, or behaving recklessly with the weapon while it is loaded, including firing warning shots or celebratory gunfire.
Firing Range/Gun Club Owners and Instructors
If you were injured while at a firing range or gun club, the owner of the club and/or the shooting instructor may be liable. If the instructor or range officer knowingly authorized you or someone else to operate a firearm the shooter is not trained to safely operate, they may be liable. If the gun range fails to properly maintain weapons it provides to guests, they may also be liable in the event of an accident caused by a misfire or weapon malfunction.
In most cases, the manufacturer of the weapon is not liable for accidental shootings. However, if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect in the weapon, the manufacturer may be liable. Manufacturing defects can result in mechanical parts failing, potentially injuring the shooter as well as those nearby, even if the weapon is operated as intended in an appropriate and safe manner.
Proving liability after an accidental shooting with a Denver injury lawyer
In order to seek compensation after being injured in an accidental shooting, you will need to prove the other party or parties are liable for the injuries sustained . To prove liability, you must demonstrate that the person responsible for the accident behaved in a negligent or reckless manner. The four core elements of negligence your Denver injury lawyer will typically have to prove to successfully pursue compensation for your claim include: must typically be proven to determine negligence:
Duty of Care
The first thing you must prove is that the person responsible for the accident had a duty of care toward you. This means that they had an obligation to behave in a certain manner in order to prevent an accident. For example, if you are visiting a friend’s home, they have a responsibility to not point a loaded gun in your direction or to not leave a gun that is visible and accessible by an unsupervised child.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when a person fails to take certain precautions which may prevent an accident. If your friend waves their firearm in your direction, they have breached their duty of care towards you to handle their firearm safely, which can in turn potentially lead to them shooting accidentally, thus causing serious or even fatal injuries.
Causation means that if not for the breach of duty occurring, the accident would not have occurred. Using the previous example, if your friend had not recklessly waved his firearm in your direction, he would likely have not fired the weapon or struck you with one of the bullets.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of the accident, such as your physical injuries and the costs you incurred to treat these damages.
In accidents that involve a person firing accidently, it can be difficult to determine who may be liable and whether negligent or reckless behavior may have caused the accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you first determine who is liable and help you pursue an injury claim.
How much is my case worth?
Compensation for accidental shooting cases can differ greatly, as many different factors, such as the nature of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and who may be liable, all help to determine the amount of compensation you may be able to seek. Generally, your injury attorney can help you pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages incurred as a result of the accidental shooting, while punitive damages may be available in some cases. Also, wrongful death damages are available in cases where your loved one died as a result of an accidental shooting.
Economic compensation can be sought for any financial damages you may have incurred as a result of an accidental shooting. This can include compensation for any medical treatment that was required to treat your injuries, including future treatments if your injury requires ongoing or long-term care. You may also be able to seek compensation for lost wages, if your injury prevented you from working while you were seeking treatment and recovering from your injuries. If your injury prevents you from returning to work in the future, or if it prevents you from being able to perform the same level of work, you may also be able to seek compensation for the loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic compensation may be sought in many cases for any pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your accident. This type of compensation is not based on any financial loss you incurred because of the shooting, but rather it will vary greatly from case to case. Compensation from pain and suffering is generally based on the extent of your injuries and their impact on your quality of life.
While punitive damages are rare in any case, they may be available in some cases where the firearm owner or the person possessing the firearm acted in an especially egregious manner such that the court deems it necessary to award punitive damages in an attempt to not only punish the shooter for the egregious behavior that led to the shooting, but to also serve as a warning to others to be sure to avoid repeating such behavior.
If you have lost a loved one due to an accidental shooting, you may be able to seek compensation for the loss of income you suffered if you were a dependent of the victim. Also, if you suffered emotional damages caused by their death, such as the loss of consortium if the victim was your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation.
The accidental shooting lawyers at Zinda Law Group can review your case to help you determine what compensation you may be able to pursue as part of your injury claim or as a wrongful death claim. The costs of an accident can mount rapidly, and if you are unable to work as a result of your accident, you may find yourself in dire financial trouble. A personal injury attorney can review your medical bills and records and help you pursue the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. When searching for an answer to your question of finding “an injury lawyer near me,” you should speak with the team at Zinda Law Group to learn how our attorneys can help you pursue maximum compensation.
Contact experienced accidental shooting lawyers in Denver today
While the Second Amendment provides significant protections for gunowners to support bearing arms, negligent handling of a firearm creates significant risks for both themselves and any potential victims. This danger can lead to unfathomable tragedy and heartbreak after an accidental shooting leaves a victim or his or her family scrambling to recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Fortunately, a skilled injury attorney can help you recover financially from an accidental shooting while freeing you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you or your loved one were injured in an accidental shooting, call Zinda Law Group as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Denver injury lawyer to discuss how you should proceed to file an injury claim after the accident. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and = help you determine who may be liable for the injuries you or your loved one suffered.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.