Even under the best conditions, firearms can be dangerous. When a gun is mishandled or defective, the risk of a serious injury rises substantially. Accidental shootings occur at an alarming rate in the United States and frequently result in severe injuries and even death. If you were harmed by an accidental discharge, a Fort Worth accidental shooting attorney can help.
At Zinda Law Group, we have a long history of helping accident victims recover compensation from those liable for their damages. We have been in business for over 15 years and have served more than 10,000 clients. During this time, our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers have recovered over $210,000,000 in damages. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Civil Liability Vs. Criminal Charges
Following a shooting, most people think about the criminal charges that can result. However, a criminal case will not result in the victim recovering the money they need from the at-fault party. Instead, you need to file a civil lawsuit.
A criminal trial is used to punish the liable party for their actions and can result in incarceration and fees. On the other hand, a civil lawsuit can help you recover a variety of economic and non-economic damages. Additionally, many accidental shooting victims also qualify to collect punitive damages.
For a free legal consultation with a accidental shooting lawyer serving Fort Worth, call 800-863-5312
File All Necessary Paperwork Before the Deadline
When pursuing a lawsuit after an accidental shooting, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the filing deadline. In Texas, the personal injury statute of limitations grants accident victims two years to submit a lawsuit against the liable party. Letting this deadline pass without taking action will likely mean the loss of your right to claim damages.
However, you need to realize that exceptions apply to some cases which allow accident victims to file even if the standard two-year deadline has already passed. Because of this, you should contact an experienced Fort Worth accidental shooting lawyer even if you think your window for filing has already closed.
Of course, the deadline can shift in the other direction as well. By hiring an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can determine exactly how long you have to file. Your lawyer will identify the deadline and ensure that all paperwork is prepared and filed well in advance of the cutoff.
Accidental Shooting in Fort Worth lawyers near me 800-863-5312
The Four Elements of Negligence
When working to prove negligence and recover compensation after an accidental shooting, you must establish that four elements were present.
Duty of Care
The first thing you need to demonstrate is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This step is fairly straightforward in most cases. If the liable party is the person who was handling the weapon, they owed you a duty of care because anyone using a gun has the duty to use reasonable safety precautions when dealing with firearms.
Breached Duty of Care
The next step is to prove that the at-fault party breached their duty of care. Some of the various ways in which those responsible for accidental shootings breach their duty of care include:
- Failing to check whether or not the firearm is loaded
- Placing a finger on the trigger when not intending to fire
- Failing to ensure the weapon is not pointed at others
- Failing to engage the safety mechanism on the gun
Next, you need to prove that you suffered damages. If a bullet hit you in an accidental shooting, your medical records, along with photos of the wound, are likely enough to prove that you incurred damages. However, expert witness testimony might also be necessary, especially to prove injuries like hearing loss resulting from the percussive discharge of a firearm.
The final element you must prove is how everything is connected. An experienced accidental shooting lawyer in Fort Worth can help connect the dots, showing how the defendant breached their duty of care and caused your damages.
Product Liability for Defective Firearms
You need to understand that the liable party in an accidental shooting case is not always the person handling the weapon. If the firearm is defective, the manufacturer may be responsible for any damages caused. The three types of defective product cases are:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Warning defects
When a firearm is inherently dangerous in an unintended manner, it may suffer from a design defect. Of course, guns are weapons and can cause harm. However, if they are handled with proper safety precautions, an accidental discharge should not occur.
If the firearm was constructed according to specifications and handled properly yet still accidentally discharged, it may be due to a defect in the design of the weapon.
Manufacturing defects occur when errors are made during the manufacturing process. A manufacturing defect can result if a product is correctly designed but improperly built.
Manufacturing defects arise from an array of issues, including human error, faulty equipment, and cut corners.
All dangerous products must come with proper warning information to inform the user of potential harm. Even though the dangers of a gun may seem clear, providing warning material is still essential. Failure to do so can open the manufacturer up to liability in the event of an accident.
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Secure the Services of an Experienced Accidental Shooting Lawyer Serving Fort Worth
After sustaining an injury caused by an accidental shooting, hiring an experienced lawyer is critical. Attempting to recover damages on your own is not likely to result in a favorable outcome. At Zinda Law Group, we have the necessary experience to help get you the money you need and deserve.
Contact us today by phone or through our website and schedule your free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.