Accidental Shooting Injury Lawyers in San Antonio
Call (800) 863-5312 To Speak With Accidental Shooting Injury Lawyers in San Antonio
The United States has a worldwide reputation for the gun ownership rate per capita. Most enjoy the freedom to protect ourselves with these powerful weapons. With gun ownership, however, comes a heightened standard of responsibility expected of every gun owner. Nevertheless, each year an alarming number of accidental shootings occur due to gun owners not properly caring for and storing their guns. Such negligence can lead to tragic gun accidents that are completely preventable. Accidental shooting injuries can cause severe, sometimes fatal, injuries that leave loved ones heartbroken. Our accidental shooting injury lawyers in San Antonio are here to help.
What Is An Accidental Shooting Injury?
An accidental, otherwise known as unintentional, shooting injury is a description used by public health officials to describe an injury or death that was not purposely caused. Some organizations do not like the term “accidental” as it implies that there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent the injury from taking place. Instead, the organizations want people aware that these incidences are in fact preventable through safe storage and proper firearm training.
How Do Accidental Shooting Injuries Happen?
Accidental shooting injuries happen in numerous ways. Examples include:
- improper maintenance
- children accessing the guns
- flaws within the designs of the guns
- use of the guns while intoxicated
- failure to follow proper safety precautions
- guns going off while cleaned
- hunting accidents
- firing range accidents
If you were injured by an accidental gunshot, contact accidental shooting lawyers in San Antonio to determine whether your particular gun accident entitles you to compensation.
Injuries From Accidental Shootings
Victims who survive accidental shooting injuries often deal with life-altering consequences. A non-exhaustive list of potential injuries include:
- difficulties remembering
- loss of limb
- permanent disability
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
How Common Are Accidental Shooting Injuries?
Studies have shown that guns stored in homes have a higher likelihood of involvement in accidental shootings than those that are used intentionally (either for an attempted suicide, to kill, or engage in self-defense). Accidental shooting injuries are fairly common in the State of Texas.
- In 2019, there were 3,683 gun-related deaths.
- In 2019, 32 children between the ages of 0-17 died from accidental shooting injuries.
- In 2019, there were at least 45 gun-related injuries due to unsupervised child firearm access.
- Texas is the leading state in the nation for stolen guns.
Accidental shooting 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 shooting injury, it is important to contact a San Antonio injury lawyer to help you assess your situation and determine if pursuing a legal claim is the right move.
What To Do After An Accidental Shooting Injury
Accidental shooting injuries can leave permanent effects long after the incidents occur. In the aftermath of an accidental shooting injury, it is important that you know the following steps to take.
Evaluate Your Health
You must first determine what your health status is after accidentally being shot with a gun. Even if you are fortunate and the injury does not appear to be serious or life threatening, still contact San Antonio 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.
Contact the San Antonio Police
After examining your health condition, alert the 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.
Preserve the Gun
Make sure that the gun that caused the shooting accidentally 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. That is especially helpful if you bring a lawsuit against a manufacturer on the grounds that the gun is a defective product as you will have opportunity to show what is specifically wrong with the gun that caused it to wrongfully discharge.
Hire A San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer
Because accidental shootings vary in location, intensity, and situation, retain a personal injury lawyer for any litigation you decide to pursue. An injury attorney can guide you on what steps you need to take as well as what your expectations should be for obtaining maximum compensation for your accidental shooting injury. At Zinda Law Group, our San Antonio injury lawyers are here to ensure that your legal claim receives top priority and that you are compensated for your accidental shooting injury.
After an accidental shooting injury, you will want to work with your injury lawyer to accumulate as much evidence as you can, including photographs of the injury and of the gun. This is crucial if you want to argue that the accident happened because of a defective gun as it can show that there were problems with the makeup of the gun.
Documentation showing that the responsible party did not have a license to use the gun will be helpful. Remember to record how long you have missed work and keep all receipts of your medical expenses, too, including treatments needed. These help determine the total amount of your economic damages.
Further, if there were any witnesses to the incident in which someone was shooting accidentally, try to get the witnesses to agree to make statements about the incident and your accidental shooting injury. Their corroborating testimony will strengthen your personal injury claim.
Laws affecting An Accidental Shooting
If another person was careless in their handling of a gun, causing you to suffer an accidental shooting injury, you may pursue a negligence claim. Texas law requires you to prove that the responsible party owed you a duty of care. Then you must prove the party breached that duty of care, and their breach was a direct cause or act that resulted in your damages.
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 fact-finder 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 maintaining and operating the gun. Other parties who could be found 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.
Sometimes an accidental shooting is not the fault of the party who handled the gun. Instead, the manufacturer of the gun or one of its parts could be responsible, especially if the gun went off on its own. In that scenario, an accidental shooting lawyer would 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 injury attorney must prove that were it not for the gun’s inadequacies, you would not have had an accidental shooting injury.
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 that potentiality. For manslaughter, as applied to an accidental shooting, 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.
Making a Firearm Available to a Child
Texas criminal law makes an adult criminally negligent if a child gains access to a loaded gun if the adult:
1. did not secure the gun or
2. left the gun in an area where the adult knew the child would have access or should have known that the child would have access.
Hunting is one of the most popular sports in Texas. But serious (and sometimes fatal) injuries occur when guns accidentally go off while people are hunting. 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
Texas law allows you to bring a lawsuit against the hunter or the hunter’s insurer if they were responsible for your injury or the injury of your loved one.
How Much Compensation Can I Get For An Accidental Shooting Injury?
In the aftermath of an accidental shooting, it is common to wonder if it is worth pursuing a claim. Zinda Law Group is here to assist you with determining your case’s worth. When figuring out what the value of your case is, it is important to know what damages you may be entitled to.
Economic damages are meant to compensate you for monetary damages incurred from a personal injury incident. Those types of damages may include medical costs, lost wages, and the loss of use of your property.
Further, you can seek compensation for an inability to earn a living, including future earnings. Factors a court will take into consideration include:
- what your salary was prior to the accidental shooting injury
- how old you are
- your education level
- your potential for future earnings
- the level of impairment of your earning potential
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for non-monetary damages incurred from the incident. Those types of damages may include compensation for pain & suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the party responsible for your injury rather than compensate you for what you lost. In Texas, there are statutory caps for accidental shooting injury cases. Punitive damages cannot exceed two times the economic damages received plus an equal amount of non-economic damages, not to exceed $750,000 or $200,000.
When determining whether punitive damages should be rewarded, a jury considers different factors, such as:
- the conduct of the offending party
- if there was a reckless indifference to the life of the injured party
- the amount of harm caused
What IS The Statute Of Limitations?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for an accidental gun injury is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you have two years from the time of the accident to file a claim for damages against the responsible party/parties.
Some exceptions apply, such as if the injured party was a child at the time of the shooting. In that scenario, the statute of limitations does not begin until the injured victim turns 18. For example, if a child was accidentally shot at the age of 10, the statute of limitations will not expire until they are 20 years old.
How Do I Protect Myself From Future Accidental Shooting Injuries?
Understandably, injured parties will want to ensure protection from future accidental shooting injuries. The CDC recommends that a gun owner:
- store bullets in a separate spot from the gun
- ensure that the gun is securely locked, particularly if there are children in the nearby vicinity
- always ensure that the trigger lock is on
- take gun safety classes to learn the proper way to clean and maintain your gun and avoid an accidental discharge
- never point the gun at yourself or anyone near you
- do not handle a gun while under the influence
Zinda Law Group Is Here To Help
Accidental shootings are often complicated and highly emotional for victims and all other parties involved. When navigating police reports, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and how the gun used may be defective, it is important to have an accidental shooting lawyer who will assist you in obtaining maximum compensation for your injury. At Zinda Law Group, our San Antonio lawyers have years of experience and knowledge of relevant Texas laws to guide you through the process after an accidental shooting injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an accidental shooting, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with one of our accidental shooting lawyers in San Antonio. And if you were wondering, “Is there an affordable injury lawyer near me?” rest assured there is!
We are the legal team with offices throughout Texas and in San Antonio, to whom you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.