Accidental Shooting Lawyers in Fort Worth
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Accidental shootings, though uncommon, happen nationwide almost every day. Being involved in an accidental shooting is a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Whether you were the shooter, or you or your loved one were injured in the shooting, the event can take a devastating toll on your life for many months or years to come. You may be lost regarding whom you can hold responsible for your injuries. If you wish to pursue a personal injury claim, you should speak with our accidental shooting lawyers in Fort Worth right away. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you navigate the insurance claims process and potential lawsuit to help you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
What is an accidental shooting?
An accidental shooting occurs when a gun is unintentionally fired. Accidental shootings frequently result in injury or even death to people or animals nearby. However, there is no such thing as a truly accidental shooting; nearly every firearm-related accident can be traced back to a decision someone made to be careless with a gun.
Causes of Accidental Shootings
Accidental shootings occur due to a variety of reasons and circumstances. The following are a few reasons why accidental shootings occur in Texas. These shootings typically occur at gun ranges, while hunting, and, unfortunately, in a person’s home.
Sometimes, a gun can misfire or even explode while someone is holding it or attempting to use it. This typically occurs at a firing range. As you’ll see below, when this is the cause for an accidental shooting, you may be able to hold the gun manufacturer responsible for any resulting injuries.
Many accidental shooting cases are the result of human error. This is the most common cause of accidental shootings, for there are a few ways in which an inexperienced gun user can accidentally fire the weapon and potentially injure him or herself and others.
First, inexperienced users often mistakenly believe that the gun is unloaded. One of the fundamental rules of firearm safety is “every weapon is always loaded.” Accidental shootings often occur when someone assumes a gun is unloaded and cleans it, waves it around, hands it to someone else without checking the chamber for bullets, or points it at someone or something.
Second, inexperienced gun users may be unaware of a general rule followed by all responsible gun handlers: never point a gun at something you don’t intend to destroy. This includes jokingly poking or mock threatening someone with a weapon, shooting accidentally due to thinking the gun is unloaded, or posing with a gun in a manner that points it at a person or object.
Third, an inexperienced gun user may lack proper trigger discipline. Proper trigger discipline means keeping the finger off and far away from the trigger, outside the trigger guard or in the receiver area, until the muzzle is pointing at the target and the handler is ready to fire. Handlers with poor trigger discipline may accidentally touch or pull the trigger and hurt themselves or others.
Finally, a gun owner may fail to properly secure their gun when it is not in use. Poorly stored guns in the home have led to many accidental shootings and deaths across the country. It may be the case that a child, or even a teenager, discovers an unsecured, loaded firearm and ends up shooting accidentally either himself or herself or others.
Hunting is an extremely popular recreational activity in the United States. Accidental shootings do not commonly occur while out hunting, but they do happen. Sometimes, hunters may be attempting to shoot an animal and accidently hit a person instead. A hunter may even mistake a person wearing camouflage for an animal and shoot them.
As with almost every accidental shooting, hunting accidents can occur not just from mistakes, but also from carelessness. Hunters walking carelessly with a loaded weapon may accidentally discharge the weapon, resulting in injury or death to someone nearby.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING
First, Call 911 and Address Medical Needs
An accidental shooting is a terrifying experience for everyone. You should call 911 immediately following an accidental shooting to be sure that any injured persons are taken care of as soon as possible. Your health or the health of your loved one is the top priority following any type of accidental shooting.
Later, Gather Information and Reports
If you wish to pursue a claim against an at-fault party for the accidental shooting, you should gather any information you can regarding the incident as soon as you feel you are able to after the event. After calling 911, the police will respond to the accident scene as well as emergency medical services.
The police will record written a report which details what has happened. It will include statements from the parties involved and potentially from witnesses, and may also include the contact information for both. Get a copy of this report.
If possible, secure the weapon that was involved in the accident. An examination of the gun might be able to show whether the shooting was caused purely by human error or whether there was a defect in the gun that contributed to the accident’s occurrence.
Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
After taking care of your injuries and gathering what information you can, try to speak with an injury lawyer in Texas as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney who has handled many similar cases for Fort Worth residents will be able to provide sound advice for your case and walk you through your next steps.
Contact a FORT WORTH INJURY LAWYER As Soon As Possible
After notifying your insurance company, treating your injuries, filing reports, and documenting the scene, you should contact an injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer who has handled many similar cases will be able to provide sound advice for your case and walk you through your next steps.
Finding the right personal injury lawyer in Texas may seem difficult, but there are plenty of resources available to make the process easier. For example, you can ask friends or family for recommendations, or even conduct a simple internet search using terms such as “injury lawyer near me,” “Forth Worth personal injury lawyer,” or “injury attorney.”
Another option when looking for reliable legal representation is to look for an attorney through the American Bar Association’s online directory. You can also find a lawyer through the Texas State Bar Association’s website or the Tarrant County Bar Association’s lawyer referral service.
Choose a personal injury attorney who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of success in pursing personal injury claims involving accidental firearm shootings. Zinda Law Group’s personal injury lawyers have experience with personal injury claims involving firearms and an outstanding record of success in handling matters like these for our North Texas clients.
TEXAS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
If you believe that the accidental shooting was caused by another’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer right away, for there are time constraints, such as statutes of limitations, involved in civil cases. These determine how long you will have to file your claim.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal cases is two years; this means that you would have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. This limitations period also applies to cases involving products liability claims and wrongful death claims. In the case of wrongful death, you have until two-years after the victim’s death to file the claim.
If you attempt to file your claim beyond that two-year limit, your claim is barred. This means that it is not allowed and will be dismissed. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine when you will need to file, and if you are subject to any of the exceptions that exist to “toll” or delay the statute of limitations.
Who is liable?
The Individual Shooter
If the shooting was caused by the negligent use or handling of a firearm by an individual, that person can be held liable for you or your loved one’s injuries. In general, negligent handling of a firearm is covered under the shooter’s homeowner’s insurance if they have it. Even if the shooting did not occur on the shooter’s property, their homeowner’s insurance usually includes coverage for injuries and damages that arise due to the policy holder’s negligence outside of the home.
The Owner of a Gun Range
Property owners are responsible for the general safety of people on their premises, and that includes the safety of firearms stored or used on the premises. If the incident occurred at a gun range, negligence on the part of the range may also be a factor. If a staff-member authorized the shooter to use a particular firearm despite not being adequately trained on that firearm, the staff member and their employer can be held liable.
The Gun Manufacturer
Gun manufacturers generally aren’t liable for misuse of their products. To hold a firearm manufacturer liable for an accidental shooting, you must prove that the gun was defective based on one of three theories.
The first is that there were inadequate warnings on the gun. Manufacturers must include all relevant and knowable information to minimize foreseeable risks, and if they don’t, they may be held liable for what may go wrong while the gun is in use.
The second theory is that the gun has manufacturing defects which caused a misfire. Manufacturers must accept responsibility for any incident that is unexpected and arises from a manufacturing defect.
The third theory is that the gun had avoidable design defects. If the manufacturer could have designed the gun in such a differed way that would have avoided the incident in question, the manufacturer will be held responsible for any resulting injuries.
WHAT YOU CAN RECOVER
You may be able to recover the costs associated with your injury and recovery through a personal injury claim. The severity of the injury and recovery time directly affect the amount of recovery for a personal injury action.
Your injury may leave you unable to work or perform daily tasks, and you might require ongoing medical care and extensive rehabilitative therapy. You may be able to recover the costs in the form of compensatory damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in recovering the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Recoverable damages include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are the actual, monetary costs of your injury. Noneconomic damages cover the mental and emotional toll the injury has taken on your life and are recovered in the form of compensation for pain and suffering.
The following are common economic and noneconomic damages you may be entitled to recover after your accidental shooting incident:
You may be able to recover the cost of medical bills you have paid out of pocket since the accident. This includes doctor’s visits, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and medication. You may also be able to recover the costs of any future appointments, medication, or treatments necessary for your recovery.
If you are out of work due to your injury, you may recover what you would have earned from the time you got shot until you can return to work as a part of your economic damages.
Diminished Earning Capacity
In addition to lost wages, you may be able to recover loss of earning capacity. If your injuries from the accident prevent you from going back to your job or working at another job for similar compensation, you may be able to recover the difference between what you were earning before the accident and what you are earning now.
Your non-economic damages include pain and suffering that result from the accident. Any kind of gun-related accident takes emotional and mental tolls on a person and their family. You may be able to recover for this mental anguish itself, and the cost of mental health treatment that may stem from the accident.
This is a separate category of damages beyond economic and non-economic. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party rather than compensate the victim for costs associated with their injury.
This type of damages is typically not available in personal injury actions. However, in the case of accidental shootings, there may be such a high degree of recklessness or gross negligence on the part of the at-fault party that it may warrant punitive damages to be awarded to the victim.
Texas statutes call this type of damages “exemplary damages,” and there is a maximum amount, or a “cap,” on how much you may recover. Exemplary damages are capped at the larger of:
- $200,000 or
- Two times the amount of economic damages plus an equal amount of non-economic damages, up to a maximum of $750,000.
For example, if a victim is awarded economic damages amounting to $150,000 and non-economic damages amounting to $200,000, his or her punitive damages will be capped at $500,000.
HOW ZINDA LAW GROUP ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING LAWYERS IN FORT WORTH CAN HELP
We at Zinda Law Group understand the pain and confusion you may be feeling in the aftermath of an accidental shooting. If you or a loved one were injured in an accidental shooting, our expert attorneys can be by your side to help you navigate the difficult personal injury claims process to ensure you are protected and compensated.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Fort Worth will guide you through the often-complex legal system to file your claim and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family during this time of recovery.
If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees. This is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury after an accidental shooting, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312. We are ready when you are to schedule a free consultation with one of our accidental shooting lawyers in Fort Worth.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.