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There are over 1 million registered guns in the state of Texas. Texas citizens use their guns for a variety of reasons, including hunting, recreational activities, and for personal protection. With gun ownership, however, comes a heightened standard of responsibility expected out of every gun owner. Unfortunately, not every gun owner maintains proper gun safety measures. In fact, the odds of ending up as a victim of an accidental shooting are increasing. If you or a loved one were injured in an accidental shooting, you may want to consult with Midland accidental shooting injury lawyers to learn whether you can recover compensation for your injuries.
How Do Accidental Shooting Injuries Happen In Midland, TX?
There are numerous ways that an accidental gunshot injury happens. A non-exhaustive list includes:
- Improper maintenance
- Children accessing the guns
- Flaws within the designs of the guns
- Use of the gun while intoxicated
- Failure to follow proper safety precautions
- Guns going off while cleaned
- Hunting accidents
- Firing range accidents
If you were injured in an accidental shooting, contact an accidental shooting lawyer in Midland to determine whether your gun accident entitles you to compensation. If you were hurt, you may be entitled to different types of damages, depending on the extent of your injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a accidental shooting lawyer serving Midland, call 800-863-5312
Injuries From Accidental Shootings
Victims of accidental gunshot injuries often deal with life-altering consequences. Some victims suffer extensive injuries that require surgery, while others require less care. More severe injuries associated with accidental shootings include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limb
- Permanent disability
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
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How Common Are Accidental Shooting Injuries?
The number of gun injuries continue to increase each year. Recent studies have shown that guns stored in homes have a higher likelihood being involved in accidental shootings than guns used intentionally (either for an attempted suicide, to kill, or engage in self-defense). Additionally, statistics demonstrate that accidental gunshot injuries are common in the State of Texas. For example, in 2019, there were 3,683 gun-related deaths. Additionally, 32 children between the ages of 0-17 died from unintentional shooting injuries. Plus, there were at least 45 gun-related injuries due to unsupervised child firearm access. Importantly, Texas ranks first in the United States for stolen gun use.
Furthermore, accidental gun injuries are common when hunting. Although hunting is one of the most popular sports in Texas, serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries occur when a gun accidentally goes off while hunting. Texas law allows you to bring a lawsuit against the hunter, (or their insurer)responsible for you or your loved one’s injury. Common examples of hunting accidents include:
- Accidentally discharging a gun while walking
- Accidentally shooting another person after mistaking them for an animal
- Firing a gun in any direction without considering who may be within range
- Carelessly handling a gun, causing it to fire and injure someone
Accidental gunshot injuries are always a terrible occurrence. They can lead to long-lasting, and sometimes fatal, injuries that forever traumatize survivors and loved ones. That is why if you have gone through an accidental gunshot injury it is important to not hesitate and contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible to help you assess your situation and determine if pursuing a legal claim is the right move.
What Should I Do After a Shooting Accident?
Accidental gunshot injuries can leave their mark long after the incident occurred. In the aftermath of an accident, it is important to know which steps to take to mitigate your injuries and ensure a better recovery. Here are the actions to take if you or a loved one are injured in an accidental shooting:
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1. Seek Medical Care If Injured
The first step to take after an accidental shooting is to determine your health status. Even if the injury does not appear to be serious or life threatening, still contact Midland authorities and head to your nearest medical provider as soon as possible. Gunshot wounds can rapidly worsen and may lead to severe infection or blood loss that requires emergency surgery.
2. Contact the Police
After examining your condition, alert the Midland police about the accidental shooting and file a police report about what took place. The police will be able to assess the situation, examine the severity of your injuries, determine whether any criminal investigations should take place, and allow you to tell your recollection of the event. Additionally, it’s important to obtain a police report for your records and for your potential case.
3. Store the Gun
Make sure that the gun that caused the injury is safely stored. Not only will this prevent another accidental injury with the gun in question, but preserving the gun will make it easier to introduce the gun as an evidentiary exhibit during a trial. This is especially helpful if you bring a lawsuit against a manufacturer on the grounds that the gun is a defective product.
4. Hire a Midland Personal Injury Attorney
Because the details of an accidental shooting in Texas vary in location, intensity, and situation, you should retain an injury attorney to help you navigate the legal process. An injury attorney can guide you through each part of the process and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injury. At Zinda Law Group, our accidental gun shooting lawyers are here to ensure that you receive the individualized attention you deserve.
5. Gather Evidence
After an accidental gunshot injury, work with your injury lawyer to gather as much evidence as you can, including photographs of the injury and of the gun. Importantly,, if there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get the witnesses to make statements about the accident. Their corroborating testimony will strengthen your personal injury claim. Furthermore, any documentation showing that the responsible party did not have a license to use the gun will be helpful. Remember to also record how long you have missed work and keep all receipts of your medical expenses, too, including treatments needed. These records help determine the total amount of economic damages.
Laws Affecting An Accidental Shooting
Typically, cases involving accidental gun injuries require the assistance of experienced attorneys who are able to provide options for your case. Generally, accidental shootings are analyzed under the legal theories of negligence, product liability, or manslaughter.
If another person was careless in their handling of a gun, causing you to suffer an accidental gunshot injury, you may pursue a negligence claim. To prove your negligence claim, Texas law requires that you demonstrate that the responsible party owed you a duty of care. Then, you must prove the party breached that duty of care, and that their breach was a direct cause or act that resulted in your damages. Parties who could be found negligently liable for an accidental shooting injury include the owner of the gun, the person who fired the gun, a gun instructor, or the manufacturer of the gun.
A court will consider different factors, such as if a child was hurt or caused the gun to go off. In the latter scenario, the child’s parents would likely be liable for any damages caused. The factfinder or court will also consider whether the gun user carelessly fired the weapon causing a severe injury, or if the gun user believed that the safety was on when it was not. They will also determine whether the gun contained sufficient instructions about its maintenance and operation. Importantly, Texas criminal law makes an adult criminally negligent if a child gains access to a loaded gun and the adult did not secure the gun or left the gun in an area where the adult knew or should have known that the child would have access.
Sometimes, an accident is not the fault of the party who handled the gun. Instead, the manufacturer of the gun could be responsible, especially if the gun went off on its own. In that scenario, your attorney should pursue a product liability claim on your behalf.
To prove a product liability, claim against a manufacturer, you will need to demonstrate that the gun itself (or certain parts of the gun) had defects. Those defects could be inadequate warnings or flaws within the building of the gun itself. Your attorney must also prove that were it not for the gun’s inadequacies, you would not have had an accidental gunshot injury.
Read More: Product Liability Lawyers
Under Texas law, an individual will likely face manslaughter charges if the individual was aware of the risk that could arise from their conduct but disregarded it entirely. For manslaughter, , the responsible party does not need to know that the gun will go off or intend for the gun to go off. Rather, it is enough if there was a reasonable enough belief that the gun could fire.
For example, suppose two friends are spending time together at one of their homes. After consuming alcohol, one of the friends decides to grab a gun off the shelf and fire it, believing that the gun did not have any bullets in the chamber. He accidentally strikes and kills his friend. In that scenario, the friend who fired the gun will likely face manslaughter charges because, although they did not intend to cause a fatal injury, they acted recklessly while under the influence of alcohol.
How Much Can I Recover After An Accident?
For a personal injury lawsuit under Texas law, you could obtain economic damages, non-economic damages, and possibly punitive damages if a defendant, or negligent party, is found at fault for your injuries caused by an accidental gunshot. In a circumstance where the victim passes away due to someone’s negligence, a loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. The same type of compensation is available whether you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, loss of use of property, and loss of future employment. These damages are the easiest to calculate. To ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, keep documents which demonstrate your medical expenses, property damage, and missed work.
Non-economic damages refers to compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain & suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, and loss of companionship. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages. However, your attorney will help determine the value of your non-monetary losses.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than making the victim “whole again.” You must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party was reckless or acted intentionally. Importantly, even if you are able to meet the threshold for punitive damages, state law has a damage cap on what you can receive. In Texas, the cap for punitive damages is $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages plus an equal amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000
After an accidental shooting in Midland, you should consult with your Midland injury attorney to determine whether you should pursue punitive damages.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case.
What is the Statute of Limitations for an Accidental Gunshot Injury?
In Texas, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party (or parties). In contrast, the statute of limitations is usually tolled when a child is injured. For example, if an eight-year-old child was injured in an accident, the statute of limitations would not begin until the child turns eighteen.
Call a Zinda Law Group Midland Personal Injury Lawyer FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you are wondering whether to contact an injury attorney, know that it is better to understand all of your options and talk with a professional about your case. Call Zinda Law Group and speak with a personal injury attorney who can help you investigate the accident, gather evidence, and work toward resolution as quickly as possible. We’re here to get your life back on track.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accidental shooting in Texas, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an accidental shooting lawyer. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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