NEW MEXICO HUNTING ACCIDENT LAWYER
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Though most people no longer hunt for survival, it is nevertheless a popular recreational activity. However, hunting involves firearms, making hunting an extremely risky activity.
If you or your loved one has been involved in a hunting accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our New Mexico hunting accident lawyers.
Types of Hunting Accidents
In general, there are three causes of hunting accidents involving a firearm.
The first kind is when an individual unintentionally shoots another human being. For instance, a hunter may hit the trigger of his gun while cleaning it, causing another hunter in the vicinity to get shot. The second kind is when an individual mistakes a human being for an animal. The third kind is when a hunter shoots the target animal, misses, and hits a human being instead.
Many of these accidents are avoidable. However, some irresponsible hunters decide to drink before hunting or fail to check their weapons for defects. As a result, needless injuries occur each year on hunting grounds.
Tree Stand Accidents
Tree stands or deer stands are platforms used by hunters to help them with their hunt. The platforms themselves are attached to a tree at an elevated height. The platforms help hunters have a better view of their surroundings. Unfortunately, sometimes tree stands are defective. Some stands are made better than others. Also, some hunters fail to install the stands correctly. Because a hunter must climb up to the stand and because the stands are often at a great height, a fall can be devastating.
Slip and Falls
Hunters sometimes have to climb over rough terrain or endure extreme weather conditions to secure their prey. Though these factors themselves increase the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls, there are artificial conditions or other debris that can lead to such accidents.
What Should I Do After a Hunting Accident?
Get Medical Attention
If you were injured due to a hunting accident, get immediate medical attention. Call 911 as soon as possible so that a medical team can reach your destination and treat your injuries.
Take Photos and Record Your Recollection of the Accident
If you can take photographs of the scene of the accident, be sure to do so. Legal victory can hinge upon photographic evidence. Also, see if you have any way of recording your recollection of the accident. For example, if you have a smartphone, you can make a voice memo or takes notes of the accident. You will want to do this as human memory is prone to forgetting significant details of even the most memorable of events.
Call a Hunting Accident Lawyer
For a hunting accident injury that may have the potential to permanently change your life, you may wish to call an experienced New Mexico hunting accident lawyer to go over your options.
Can A Landowner of a Hunting Grounds Be Liable for Hunting Accidents?
According to Section 17-4-7 of New Mexico’s Statutes, an owner of land that permits others to hunt on his or her land without accepting any payment does not necessarily have any liability to those who get injured on the land while hunting.
However, this does not mean that a landowner has no responsibility whatsoever. This is especially true if the landowner is getting paid by hunters to hunt on the land. Like other landowners who allow guests onto their land, there are certain duties that a landowner cannot escape from. For instance, landowners cannot install dangerous traps on their land and not warn hunters of the traps.
In legal terminology, a hunter who pays a landowner to hunt on his or her land is an invitee. Landowners owe invitees greater protection than those who are on the land without paying or those who are on the land without permission whatsoever. Thus, landowners must make sure the hunting grounds does not contain clear and obvious dangers for hunters who paid to be on the land.
Read More: Premises Liability Lawyers
Can Someone Responsible for a Hunting Accident Face Criminal Charges?
If There Is No Death
If there is no death involved in a hunting accident, it is not as likely that the perpetrator will face criminal charges as if the perpetrator had killed someone. Though the perpetrator can face jail time, he or she may only be fined. Whether or not more severe punishment is warranted depends on the perpetrator’s actions after the actual shooting. If the perpetrator gave first aid and did all that he or she could do to help the injured victim, he or she may not face criminal charges whatsoever.
If There is Death
If the accident caused someone’s death, then it is more likely the perpetrator will face criminal charges. For instance, even if the perpetrator did not intend to kill the victim, he or she may be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
What Happens If There Were Two Bullets or Two Shooters Involved?
In some hunting accidents, there were more than two guns in the vicinity that went off around the same time when the victim got injured. In such cases, the victim or the victim’s family members may choose to sue both the shooters. If it is not feasible to determine whose bullet was responsible for the injury, a court or jury made decide to make both shooters responsible for the accident. Both shooters would then be responsible for compensating the victim.
Hunting Safety Tips
A hunting trip can be a memorable experience. However, because hunting involves firearms, you should always be on alert to avoid accidents. Below are some tips that you should follow on your hunting trip.
Treat Your Gun as If It Is Always Loaded
Even when you may not have your finger on the trigger of a gun, a gun can still discharge. That is why you should always treat a gun as if it is loaded. This means you do not point the gun in the direction of others or yourself. That way, if your gun accidentally discharges, you will not shoot yourself or someone accidentally. When you are cleaning your gun, make sure there are no bullets in the gun itself.
Double Check That Your Tree Stand Is Set Up Properly
A tree stand is an effective tool to help you with your hunt. However, an improperly installed tree stand can lead to severe injuries or even death. When you set up your tree stand, make sure it is properly attached to the tree. You need to also make sure that the tree stand has a high-quality safety harness. When climbing up to the stand, be sure that you do not slip while climbing. If it is raining or there is leftover snow, you should take appropriate precautions while climbing.
Wear Bright and Reflective Clothing
When you are hunting recreationally, you should not wear clothes that can blend into your surroundings. This means that you do not wear clothes that are black, tan, white, or other colors of the animals that you will be hunting. Again, it is not uncommon for hunters to mistake other hunters as animals. If you wear bright, reflective colors, it is less likely a hunter will mistake you for an animal. Generally, the color orange is what hunters typically wear when out hunting.
Let Your Friends and Family Know Where You Are Going to Be
You should let your friends and family members know that you are going on a hunting trip and also the location of where you will be hunting. That way, if you happen to get injured on your hunting trip and are not able to contact anyone for help, your friends and family member will have an idea of where to look for you. Do not think that because we live in an age of smartphones that you should not notify your friends and family members that you are going on a hunting trip. Smartphones can die or malfunction.
Let Other Hunters Know You Are Present
Even if you are wearing your orange hunter jacket, you should still let other hunters know you are present by making noise when you are near other hunters. For instance, many hunters whistle around other hunters to let them know that they are present. This is a good way to let other hunters know you are present without disturbing their hunt.
Statute of Limitations
Know that if you get injured while hunting, you may lose the ability to file a lawsuit if you wait too long. In New Mexico, you have three years from the date of an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, there are always exceptions. If you are unsure about whether you can file a lawsuit because three years have passed since the date of the hunting accident, you may wish to call an attorney and obtain information. One common exception to the three-year rule is if the injured individual was a child when the accident occurred. In such cases, the three-year rule only goes into effect once the individual turns eighteen.
CONTACT A NEW MEXICO HUNTING ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group have supported clients after hunting accidents and accidental shootings. We believe that accident victims should not have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.