Accidental Shooting Lawyers in Santa Fe
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New Mexico is known for its diverse landscape, delicious wine, and national parks, but it is also known for its shockingly high firearm mortality rates. Unfortunately, accidental gun violence and accidental shootings are disastrous yet not uncommon tragedies in Santa Fe as well. Our accidental shooting lawyers in Santa Fe are always ready to help.
If you have been injured by, or have lost a loved one to, an accidental shooting in Santa Fe, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, call Zinda Law Group to take advantage of our 100% free case consultations with experienced accidental shooting lawyers in Santa Fe. At (800) 863-5312, expert guidance and answers are just a phone call away.
An accidental shooting lawsuit explained
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accidental firearm shooting, we understand that you might be feeling utterly overwhelmed. At Zinda Law Group, it is our priority to try to minimize that feeling as much as possible. We believe that you deserve to be compensated for the hardships you have faced, but we also believe in keeping our clients informed and comfortable with the lawsuit process.
Here is a general overview of what the process generally looks like, but keep in mind that every case is different. To get a better understanding of what your expectations should be, you can always schedule a consultation and speak directly with one of our personal injury lawyers.
First, You Will Have A 100% Free Consultation
The first step of every case is your consultation. At your first consultation, one of our experienced accidental shooting lawyers will listen to your story and assess your case.
To best assess what kind of claims you might have, the injury attorney will ask you some questions to get a better understanding of what happened. We understand that you have likely struggled financially due to the incident, which is why we firmly believe in 100% free consultations. That way even if your case is not one that we can help out with, you didn’t have to pay us a dime to figure that out.
Next, Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Investigate and Research the Accidental Shooting
If after your consultation the injury attorney decides to take on your case, they will then shift into gear and begin the investigation and research process. This can take some time, but it is vital in order for you to succeed in your case. Your attorney has a lot of important legal details to work out, such as who was legally liable and what legal claim you have.
Who is liable, and therefore whom you can sue, may not be as easy as you may think. In some circumstances, there may be multiple defendants; suing the right one or more of them can greatly increase the likelihood of you getting the compensation you deserve.
For example, if you were injured by someone shooting accidentally at a gun range because the employee behaved negligently, you may also be able to sue the owner of the range for negligently hiring the inexperienced employee. Whereas the employee himself may not have resources to offer you a settlement or pay the judgment that you deserve, the range owner likely does. This is why it is so important that your personal injury lawyer investigate your case.
Your accidental shooting lawyer will also need to do some legal research to see what claim you can assert in court. Different legal claims have different elements that need to be proven and different types of compensation that can be awarded. For example, if you lost a loved one due to someone shooting accidentally, you may have a wrongful death claim.
If you prevailed on this claim then a jury could award you different kinds of compensation, such as compensation for the lost future earnings of your spouse, or for the burial and funeral costs. Thus, it is vital that your attorney research the law and see what legal claim is best for you to assert in your lawsuit.
While investigating and researching your case, your attorney may rely on you to help them provide different documents that you have. For example, in order for your attorney to calculate how much you are demanding from the defendant, they may need to see your medical expenses or documentation showing the time you had to take off of work. So, even though your accidental shooting lawyer will be working hard for you during this step, they may need your help.
Your Injury Attorney Will Then Issue a Demand and Negotiate a Settlement
Surprisingly, the majority of lawsuits actually resolve outside of the courthouse. This happens through the process of the plaintiff—you—sending a demand letter to the defendant and consequently negotiating a settlement agreement.
A demand letter is a letter that tells the defendant (usually their insurance company) that you are demanding reimbursement for your losses. This letter essentially kicks off the negotiation process. The attorney for the insurance company can agree to what the demand letter asks for, can make a counteroffer, or can deny it entirely.
Negotiating with insurance is not an easy task. Insurance companies have one goal, and that is to maximize their profit. That means that their lawyers will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible, even if they know that their client was in the wrong. However, don’t let that scare you; our accidental shooting lawyers are experienced negotiators who won’t give up on you and your family.
If the other side is refusing to agree to the amount that you deserve, the process doesn’t stop there. Your injury attorney will then file your case in court, which commences the legal proceeding. However, the attorney for the insurance company can continue to make offers to settle, even up until the case goes to the jury.
Finally, Your Santa Fe Injury Lawyer Will Fight Your Case in Court
Once the complaint is filed and the lawsuit is commenced, the next step is not necessarily trial. First the lawyers will go through what is called pre-trial discovery, which is essentially where the parties have to turn over nonprivileged documents to each other. This is when the attorneys can take depositions of different witnesses, including you. Although that all might sound intimidating, your lawyer has gone through this process many times and can guide you every step of the way.
Once discovery is completed, the attorneys will litigate any pre-trial motions that are necessary, and then the trial will begin. At trial, your injury attorney will explain to the judge or jury the tragic experience you had to go through and what it cost you physically, financially, and emotionally.
Every trial looks different, but at Zinda Law Group our injury attorneys are experienced litigators and will advocate for you tirelessly. Once trial is complete, the judge or jury will announce the verdict and, if successful, you will be awarded the compensation that you so deserve.
ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING FAQS
Many Santa Fe residents own firearms, and they do so for different reasons; sometimes for sport and other times for personal safety. New Mexico is also home to many shooting ranges. The downside of this high prevalence of firearms is that accidents happen, and accidents involving firearms can be especially dangerous.
If you have been the victim of a firearm accident, you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind. Below we have addressed some of the more common questions. Keep in mind that our Santa Fe injury lawyers are always just a phone call away to address any other concerns you might have.
What Are the Common Causes of Accidental Shootings in NM?
Accidental shootings can unfortunately happen for a myriad of reasons. Some of the more common causes of these tragic accidents are:
Negligent Behavior by the Handler
The most common cause of an accidental shooting is the firearm handler acting negligently. Someone is negligent when they fail to use reasonable and ordinary care under the circumstances. For example, if an employee at a gun range didn’t properly supervise the customers who were firing guns, that would be considered negligent behavior.
Another example would be if someone in your vicinity had a loaded firearm and wasn’t storing it properly on his or her person, and it accidentally went off. In that example, that person was not exercising the care that a reasonable person would by ensuring that the firearm is not loaded and stored properly.
Another common cause of accidental shootings is a lack of training; in New Mexico you do not need to have any sort of professional training in order to purchase a gun. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes gun owners are not adequately trained on how to handle or maintain their firearms. As you might imagine, this can have devastating consequences.
Lack of Muzzle and/or Trigger Discipline
Experienced firearm handlers know what these terms mean, but in case you do not, muzzle discipline refers to the practice of keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times. Trigger discipline refers to keeping one’s fingers away from the trigger until the very moment the handler is ready to fire. Even a handler with firearm training can have poor muzzle or trigger discipline, and when they do, it makes it much easier for accidental fires to cause injuries.
On occasion, accidental shootings are not caused by the handler but instead are caused by the producer of the firearm. Firearms can be defective in different ways: they can be designed defectively, manufactured defectively, or marketed defectively.
For example, a design defect would be where a particular gun was designed poorly and caused that type of gun to spontaneously discharge, whereas if the issue was solely with one handler’s gun, that would be considered a manufacturing defect.
A marketing defect refers to when a company fails to include or present adequate warnings related to the firearm. If the accidental shooting that injured you or your loved one was caused by a defective part, you may have a legal claim against the company that produced it.
What Kind of Compensation Might I Receive?
If your case is resolved through negotiations, then you will receive a lumpsum amount specified in the settlement agreement. If your case is resolved at trial, then the damages you can be awarded may depend on the type of lawsuit that you bring. However, generally plaintiffs in these types of cases can receive two forms of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical costs, lost income, and potentially loss of future income if you are injured in such a way that prevents you from returning to work. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering damages, which refers to compensation for the physical and emotional pain and stress caused by the accident.
In some circumstances you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in order to punish the defendant for their bad acts.
In New Mexico these can only be awarded if the plaintiff can show that the defendant was malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, or fraudulent, or acted in bad faith. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important that you have an experienced Santa Fe injury lawyer by your side.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
Each state has a statute of limitations for different types of legal claims. These statutes dictate how long a plaintiff has to file their claim after an incident takes place. In New Mexico, for personal injury claims there is a statute of limitations of three years.
This means that from the date of the accident, you have three years to file your suit. This may feel like a long period of time, but as discussed above, there are many steps in the lawsuit process. The earlier you reach out to your Santa Fe injury lawyer the better.
Why Do I Need an Injury Lawyer Near Me?
Hiring an experienced injury attorney is essential for you to get the compensation that you deserve. An experienced lawyer knows how to investigate your case, pinpoint what legal claims you can assert in New Mexico, and negotiate with the opposing counsel. Most importantly, if it is necessary, your personal injury attorney can plead and prove your case in court.
Convincing a jury that the defendant was negligent is a tough task. In fact, different types of legal claims have different elements that each need to be proven to the jury.
For example, in a negligence cause of action, the lawyer must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty of care, the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff suffered from damages as a result. Each of those four elements must be proven to a jury. Without an experienced accidental shooting lawyer by your side, that will be difficult if not impossible.
CONSULT WITH THE ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING LAWYERS IN SANTA FE AT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our accidental shooting lawyers in Santa Fe wish that you didn’t need to call us, because that would mean that this tragedy never happened to you in the first place. Although we cannot turn back time, we can help you move forward.
Our Santa Fe injury lawyers have years of experience fighting for our clients who deserve to be compensated to the maximum, just like you. To take the first step, call us today at (800) 863-5312 for your 100% free consultation.
We understand that you have struggled since the accident, even financially, which is why we offer our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. This guarantee means that you will not have to pay us a thing unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.