An accidental shooting can be devastating for everyone involved. The victim obviously suffers the greatest damage, as their life and limbs are affected. Additionally, family members who relied on them may lose their support as they recover from their injuries. Our accidental shooting attorneys in Tucson are here to help.
The psychological trauma of an accidental shooting can be just as real as the physical injuries. The victim may be permanently scarred from the incident and, by extension, may no longer be able to perform at their job or as part of their family. Indeed, suffering from a gunshot wound can be the most traumatizing event you experience in your life.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a gunshot wound in Tucson, contact our personal injury lawyers in Tucson by phone or through our website. With your free case evaluation, we can begin to help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
Civil Liability for an Accidental Shooting
When someone suffers a gunshot wound, the criminal aspect of the shooting is typically the first thing that comes to mind. While it may be true that violations of statutory criminal law were a factor in the shooting, the shooter may nonetheless be held civilly liable for their actions.
A violation of a criminal statute does not preclude you from filing a civil claim for damages.
Criminal penalties for an accidental shooting, such as manslaughter, will still be on the table, but this does not mean the same person will be safe from civil liability. Civil liability is different from criminal liability in that it seeks to make the individual whole. Essentially, civil liability seeks to protect the individual victim, whereas criminal liability seeks to protect society as a whole.
Protection for the individual in the civil liability context means restoring them financially. A gunshot will likely put you out of commission for an extended period. During that time, you may lose wages, leaving your family without the support you ordinarily provide. Initiating a civil lawsuit is the first step in holding the at-fault party accountable and attaining financial recovery.
For a free legal consultation with a accidental shooting injury lawyer serving Tucson, call 800-863-5312
Gun Safety Negligence
Gun safety negligence is the failure to take reasonable precautions when handling dangerous firearms. Reasonableness is the standard by which the trier-of-fact will determine the culpability of the accused. When someone is accused of being negligent, it is essentially alleged that they acted, or failed to act, in a way that disregarded an obvious risk.
Negligence in the civil liability sense means that the liable person was aware or ought to have been aware of an unjustifiable risk. In other words, there was a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.
Parties who neglect their duty of care must be held accountable, and the Tucson accidental shooting lawyers from our firm are prepared to help you do so. Keep in mind that neglect is not limited to the person who was in possession of the gun. Liability may also extend to the person who sold it to them or the owners of the property where the accident occurred.
An experienced injury attorney will approach this type of injury from a bird’s-eye perspective. They will gather all the facts to determine who had the responsibility of ensuring safety in the context of the accident. In many cases, there may be multiple parties who are contributorily negligent. Your attorney can help ensure you recover the full amount your claim is worth.
Accidental Shooting Injury in Tucson lawyers near me 800-863-5312
The Importance of Gun Safety
Firearms are amongst the most regulated forms of personal property, and for good reason. A gun is a weapon specifically designed to cause injury and death.
For this reason, possessing a firearm requires extensive safety training and demonstrable knowledge of customary safety practices. However, the reality is that many firearm owners are not equipped with the knowledge necessary to operate a firearm safely.
Shooting accidentally typically results in an innocent bystander being injured or killed. Nearly 500 people die from unintentional firearm injuries each year. 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%)
- Hunting (13.8%)
Firearm training is necessary to ensure that people can own and operate a firearm while keeping those around them safe. Lacking a proper understanding of the mechanics of a firearm creates a risk to everyone in its vicinity.
Even in areas where gun use is controlled and monitored, like at a gun range, inexperienced users pose a risk to everyone there. That is why it is so important that people receive the necessary training before even coming close to a gun.
Duty of Care
For a defendant to be held liable for accidentally shooting an individual, there must have been a particular action or condition that caused it. The action or condition need not be the sole cause of the accidental discharge but must have led to the gun going off in some way. Most accidental discharges result from defective manufacturing, lack of supervision, or inadequate training.
In a civil action for negligent discharge and firearm-related injuries, the plaintiff must first prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. “Due care,” sometimes referred to as ordinary care or reasonable care, refers to a defendant’s obligation to perform or refrain from some action to keep the victim safe.
Once it is determined that a duty of care was owed, the next step is to prove negligence. This is the stage of the litigation where an injury attorney will best assist you. Tucson accidental shooting attorneys know that neglect refers to the mental state of the defendant.
They also know that the key inquiries in the determination of neglect are whether there was an unjustifiable risk and if the defendant was aware or ought to have been aware of the danger. These questions call upon the standard of reasonableness (i.e., what the ordinarily prudent person would have done considering the circumstances).
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The person in control of the firearm may not ultimately be the one held liable for your injuries. In the case of a product liability claim, it is asserted that it was the manufacturer or the seller of the firearm who is responsible for the accidental shooting.
Under this type of claim, one who sells a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer. To establish a product liability claim, the seller must be in the business of selling firearms, and the item must not substantially change before reaching the consumer.
An experienced personal injury lawyer is likely to bring multiple claims if the circumstances of your case allow for such a strategy. Described below are various types of product liability claims which can be brought.
When a firearm contains a manufacturing defect, the weapon as produced does not comply with the manufacturer’s intended design, thereby rendering the product unreasonably dangerous. In this type of case, all possible care was exercised in the preparation and marketing of the item, but when the product left the manufacturer’s control, the weapon was defective and dangerous.
This may manifest itself in a delay between the pull of the trigger and the firing of the gun, for example. If there was a modification to the weapon, the manufacturer may escape strict liability, as post-production modification will make the assessment of liability more difficult.
However, if, for instance, an extra piece of metal becomes lodged in the firing chamber or part of the firearm is improperly installed during production, and it causes the performance of the firearm to change, the manufacturer will likely be responsible for the injury.
A firearm contains a design defect if the manufacturer could have invested in an alternative design that could have prevented the accident. Such a defect makes the weapon unreasonably dangerous, given its foreseeable use or misuse. For example, a highly sensitive firing mechanism might be considered a design defect.
A Tucson shooting injury attorney would know that whether the firearm contained a design defect is determined by a two-prong test. The first prong is considered the traditional consumer expectations test, where it is up to the jury to decide whether a product is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer who purchases it.
The second prong is known as the risk-utility analysis, which allows the fact finder to balance the risks associated with using the product against the product’s utility. Some states only apply one test in these types of cases. However, courts in Arizona can apply either or use both in combination.
A product is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced by the provision of reasonable instructions or warnings by the seller, and the omission of the instructions or warnings renders the product not reasonably safe. Under this standard, the risks posed must be:
- Known or knowable at the time of sale
- Unreasonably dangerous without warning or instruction
A recurring theme amongst these types of product liability claims is that there was a relevant and knowable safety hazard.
In the context of firearms, these types of warnings are crucial to preventing serious injury and death. For example, if a manufacturer fails to provide instructions about how to unload the weapon or disengage the firing pin, they may face liability for any resulting injuries.
Laws Governing Firearms
In Arizona, citizens are not required to register their firearms with the state. Additionally, local jurisdictions and municipalities are prohibited from requiring licensing or registration of firearms and ammunition. According to this standard, it is generally acceptable to conceal carry a loaded firearm.
However, there are limitations to this law for adults ages 18 to 20 years old. For example, the law does not permit an 18 to 20-year-old to conceal an unholstered gun underneath his car seat. A Tucson accidental shooting lawyer would be aware of these particular standards and can use violations of the law to your advantage when seeking recovery.
That is why it is so important to find an injury attorney who is familiar with the specific rules of the jurisdiction in which the accident occurs. A personal injury lawyer from Zinda Law Group is equipped with this knowledge and ready to help pursue maximum compensation.
What to Do After Being Victim of an Accidental Shooting
The first step for anyone who has suffered a gunshot wound is to seek immediate medical care. Additionally, they should speak with law enforcement to ensure that all events preceding the incident are accurately accounted for. Once you find yourself in a stable medical condition, then it is time to call an experienced personal injury lawyer.
When you are accidentally struck by a bullet, we can begin immediately working on your behalf. We can try to contact all parties who were likely involved and attempt to retrieve any evidence giving light to the circumstances of the incident. Our personal injury lawyers will do their best to capture all evidence and assess the viability of your claim to determine which parties are liable.
After you have sought proper medical attention and retained an attorney, contact your employer and let them know that you were a victim of a gunshot. By contacting your employer, you can explore what options are available to you in terms of workers’ compensation and any assistance your employer may be able to provide.
As much of this can be overwhelming during recovery, we encourage you to speak with your attorney so that they can understand your needs and better assist you.
File Your Accidental Shooting Lawsuit Before Time Runs Out
When attempting to recover compensation after an accidental shooting, it is critical that you pay attention to the filing deadline. In Arizona, the personal injury statute of limitations gives victims two years to file a lawsuit against the liable party. If you fail to file your lawsuit on time, you will likely be out of options for pursuing compensation.
However, even if the typical filing deadline has passed, you should still contact a Tucson accidental shooting attorney. Exceptions may apply to your case, which permit you to file after the usual cutoff date. An experienced attorney can help you identify if you still qualify to take legal action.
Of course, you need to understand that the filing deadline can also shift in the other direction. An experienced attorney can help identify exactly how much time you have to file a lawsuit and ensure all your paperwork is complete and filed on time. Reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to avoid the surprise of an unexpected deadline.
Get Help from Our Accidental Shooting Lawyers in Tucson
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys is focused on the preservation of evidence and ensuring that the proper procedures of the court are followed. With our expertise, we can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and much more. Our case results speak for themselves.
Being the victim of an accidental shooting can be a life-changing event. An experienced lawyer can work to seek awards on your behalf and hold negligent parties accountable. That is why we offer a 100% free consultation, and you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement or judgment for your accidental shooting case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
A lawyer from our firm would be honored to serve you during this challenging time. If you were injured in an accidental shooting, give us a call or contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation with a Tucson injury lawyer today. We are ready and willing to assist you. Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.