Accidental Shooting Lawyers in Fort Collins
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There is an inherent danger in operating firearms. Often, only intentional acts of violence involving firearms get news coverage. But the reality is that firearms are more likely to be involved in accidental or unintentional shootings. Accidental shootings could be the result of many factors but are most often caused by mishandling or malfunction. Specifically designed to cause injury, firearms are regulated heavily. When these standards are ignored, the results are injurious and often deadly. Accidental shooting lawyers in Fort Collins are ready and willing to hold negligent parties accountable and seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
Injured victims should never be on the hook for someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions. Zinda Law Group is here to help secure the compensation that you deserve. If you have been injured because of an accidental shooting, contact Zinda Law Firm at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation.
The Importance of Gun safety
Shooting accidentally often results in serious injury, and sometimes death. For this reason, possession of a firearm typically requires extensive safety training and demonstrable knowledge of customary safety practices. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to operate a firearm properly.
Whenever a shot goes off that was not intentionally fired, the result is usually that an innocent bystander is injured or killed. According to National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 500 people die from unintentional firearm injuries each day. Among these deaths, the most common circumstances in which they occurred include:
- playing with a gun (28.3%)
- believing that the gun was not loaded (17.2%), and
- hunting (13.8%)
Without a proper understanding of the mechanics of a firearm, the operator is creating a risk to all those around them. With bullets traveling at an average speed of 1700/mph, the impact can shatter bones and possibly pass through the victim entirely. Training is necessary to ensure the safety of all those in the vicinity of a firearm. It is for this reason that there is a great deal of legislation surrounding the possession and use of firearms.
Accidental shooting lawyers have a depth of knowledge when it comes to the laws governing firearms. They are in the best position to ensure that you retain the utmost protection under the law. A Zinda Law Group personal injury lawyer will work tirelessly to make sure that your rights are acknowledged, and that you may recover from someone shooting accidentally and striking you.
Common Causes of Accidental Gun shootings
Accidental shootings are typically due to negligence or some other form of carelessness. Experienced gun handlers know that safety needs to be the priority when using a firearm.
This may be less obvious to inexperienced gun owners, many of whom are only just beginning to learn about the mechanics of a firearm and the safety practices associated with using one. Inexperienced or reckless handlers can cause accidental shootings by a myriad of oversights.
Accidental shooting lawyers take all the variables into account when they determine the viability of your case. An experienced injury attorney would know what to look for and whom to question, should you be the victim of an accidental shooting. The circumstances of an accidental shooting can be vague, but a trained personal injury lawyer will search for the root cause of the accident.
Below is a list of some of the most common causes of accidental shootings in Fort Collins and the surrounding area.
Some shooters lack experience in operating firearms. A trained gun user will take note of the safe fire zone and will not operate the gun outside of it. A trained gun owner would also take note of the people around them and make sure everyone is aware that they are going to be discharging their weapon.
In Fort Collins, there are several firearms training groups and facilities. These institutions are focused on public safety education and establish the base level of conduct in the operation of a firearm. But bear in mind, that even someone who is entirely competent in this area can still make a mistake; that is why, regardless of a person’s training, a baseline standard of conduct should never be abandoned.
Poor Gun Range Management
Considering the nature of a gun range, the potential for risk and injury is easy to see. Not only are gun ranges loud, but they are also crowded with multiple people firing weapons. Patrons are typically firing their guns just a few feet from each other.
A typical gun range bears these potential risks. Therefore gun range patrons, owners, and managers must use the utmost precautions to create a safe environment.
Poor gun range management is often the cause of gun range accidents. The most damaging type of gun range injury is an accidental shooting.
For these reasons, it is important to make sure that safety is priority for the gun range that you frequent. For gun ranges, prioritizing safety is a must, as they may be contributorily negligent and liable along with the shooter.
No Parental Supervision
Without parental supervision, the people who cause many firearm accidents and the people who are victimized are children or teenagers. As a child becomes a teenager it gets easier to train and teach them how to handle a weapon responsibly. But until a child or youth has had that training, parents should keep guns secure and away from any minor children.
In 2021 there were at least 379 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 154 deaths and 244 injuries nationally. An estimated 4.6 million kids live with unlocked, loaded guns, and in homes with firearms, the likelihood of accidental shooting is higher. With so many unintentional shootings involving children, all weapons should be stored in the safest way possible.
Poor Trigger Discipline
Gun safety experts say that the #1 cause of accidental discharges is poor trigger discipline. Trigger discipline refers to keeping the trigger finger off the trigger and outside the guard until ready to discharge the firearm.
This is a safety practice that most novice firearm users are unaware of. The good thing is that poor trigger discipline is an easily addressable behavior that enhances safety.
There are several situations where having poor trigger discipline can lead to accidental discharges. If a gun user does not have good trigger discipline, they are a risk to you and everyone in their vicinity. Unfortunately, people often lack basic firearm education, thereby putting you and your loved ones at risk.
Reckless handling of a firearm entails using the firearm in some way that ignores the substantial risks associated with it. This can include leaving the firearm unattended and in the presence of children but is more commonly associated with brandishing the weapon in a way that endangers others. If you see someone using a gun that is not considered normal or reasonable conduct, the best thing to do is exit their vicinity and report them if possible.
This type of conduct should be addressed immediately after it is observed. It is never okay to tilt a gun before firing it, wave it around without definite aim, or remove the clip without checking for a bullet in the chamber. Again, if you are near people who are not aiming their weapons downrange, or are tossing their guns around like toys, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation.
While manufacturers pride themselves on quality control, there are cases where they are careless as well. A manufacturing defect typically entails a gun being poorly constructed or having defective parts. Typically, the flaw that causes the accident manifests itself in the design stage or in the production stage.
If a gun discharges when dropped, even with the safety, that could result in a lawsuit. Or if, for example, the trigger on the firearm causes a delay when firing, that could also result in a lawsuit.
You will often see expert gun users taking their guns apart and inspecting them. It is important to be extremely precautious when you are around people who are not familiar with the mechanics of a firearm.
Use of Alcohol or Drugs
Being intoxicated and operating dangerous machinery is never a good idea. Too often does the combination of alcohol or drugs and firearms lead to serious injuries or even death. Being under the influence can impair the judgment of a person, leading them to engage in reckless or impulsive behavior.
Drugs and alcohol have the effect of distorting one’s perception. This can lead to misidentifying a target or improperly aiming at an unintended target.
When someone’s coordination and judgment are impaired because of consuming drugs or alcohol, they should never touch a firearm. When alcohol and gun powder mix, the consequences are often deadly.
Laws governing Firearms
In Fort Collins, CO, you do not need a permit to own a gun; however, you do need a special permit to carry a concealed weapon. According to this standard, it is generally acceptable to openly carry a firearm, but keep in mind there are local ordinances that may prohibit open carry in specific areas.
A Fort Collins injury lawyer would be aware of these standards and would use violations to your advantage when seeking recovery. In Colorado, there are two statutes governing firearms: namely, titles 18 and 33 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 18 provides that in Colorado, a person is allowed to carry a firearm in a vehicle if its use is for lawful protection of such person or another’s person or property. Additionally, a person is allowed to possess a handgun in a dwelling, place of business, or automobile. However, when carrying a firearm into your home, business, hotel room, etc., the weapon must be in plain view.
Title 18 is a criminal statute, so not adhering to its requirements could result in criminal penalties. But if an accidental shooting occurs in violation of Title 18, it may increase the chance of recovery in a civil case. For example, if the accidental shooting occurred while the firearm was being concealed without a concealed carry permit, evidence of a title 18 infraction may apply during the civil trial.
Title 33 of the Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 33 pertains to Colorado wildlife law but is similar to Title 18. Title 33 similarly provides that one may carry a weapon in their vehicle. However, it is unlawful for any person, except a person authorized by law, to possess or have under his control any firearm other than a pistol or revolver in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded.
Title 33 specifically mentions that it is unlawful to control a firearm other than a pistol or revolver unless that person has been authorized by law. This means that while Colorado laws allow for ordinary persons to operate a pistol or revolver, it would be unlawful for that same person to be in possession of a hunting rifle, for example. Firearms such as a hunting rifle are far larger and more powerful, and thus require further training and authorization.
What is considered gun safety negligence?
Negligence in the civil liability sense means that the liable person ought to have been aware of an unjustifiable risk. Essentially, there is a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. When this type of conduct involves a weapon, the result is typically injurious and sometimes deadly.
Parties who negligently operate a firearm must be held accountable. All states criminalize the negligent operation of a firearm; for example, if a person were to discharge a firearm at a parade or demonstration, there is a state statute that criminalizes that behavior. We often associate shootings with criminal liability and criminal penalties, but often there could be civil liability as well.
Suing for civil damages is an option available that most people don’t often consider. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of accidental firearm discharge, there are a number of people who may be held accountable. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could sue:
- the shooter of the gun
- the owner of the gun
- property supervisors
- property owners
In some cases, the business that sold the gun may be held liable. For example, if they were aware that they were selling a weapon to someone who shouldn’t have been allowed to purchase it, then they may be considered to have acted negligently. Therefore, it is very important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who will seek to uncover who was truly liable for your injuries.
Contacting an attorney shortly after the accident gives you the best chance for recovery. An attorney will work to ensure the preservation of evidence and that the proper procedures are taken by law enforcement and the court.
Of course, when you are first injured, the primary focus is your medical care and survival. But when the dust settles, you should consider having an attorney help you achieve recovery.
Speak with an attorney at Zinda Law Group
At Zinda Law Group, we are an experienced team of attorneys focused on protecting your rights and preparing your case after an accidental shooting. When you sue for an injury caused by a gun, you may recover medical expenses, emotional trauma caused by pain and suffering, and various other types of damages. An injury attorney from Zinda Law Group can help you pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.
Accidental shooting injuries are life-threatening and typically have a lengthy recovery period. A lawyer with Zinda Law Group can start working on your behalf, holding negligent parties accountable and seeking the highest possible award for your losses.
We offer an initial, 100% free consultation, and you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your injury case. That is our No Win No Fee Guarantee!
You may be thinking to yourself, “Where do I find an injury lawyer near me?” Please, look no further.
During this challenging time, a lawyer from our firm would be honored to serve you. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of an accidental shooting, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Collins injury attorney today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.