If someone accidentally shot you while they were hunting, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation. Every hunter has a duty to be reasonably cautious and to exercise reasonable skill and care when hunting or discharging a firearm. If a hunter falls short of doing this, the hunter could be considered negligent. Negligent hunters may be sued in a personal injury lawsuit to obtain monetary damages for the injuries that they caused.
Some examples of behavior that may be considered negligent and that may lead to a claim include:
- Failing to have the target in sight when shooting.
- Failing to ensure that the area is clear of people before shooting.
- Failing to remove the magazine before cleaning the gun.
- Failing to put the gun safety on.
- Accidentally discharging a weapon due to improper or careless handling.
As a claimant, you have the obligation to show that the hunter was unreasonably careless or negligent in such a way that you got hurt.
2. What if I was shot by a friend who was hunting with me?
You may still file a personal injury claim even if the person who shot you was a friend, relative or a member of your hunting party. There is no rule that personal injury claims can only be brought against strangers. Keep in mind that in most cases it will be the shooter’s insurance policy, including an ordinary homeowner’s policy that will pay the claim.
3. What if I was shot at someone’s house when a firearm accidentally went off?
If you got hurt at someone’s home due to the accidental discharge of a firearm, you may have a claim for negligence. People have an obligation to ensure that their homes are reasonably safe for invited visitors, which means making sure that guns are secured and that visitors do not become the victims of a gun accident caused by carelessness, negligence or recklessness.
4. What costs would the hunter who shot me be responsible for?
When you file a personal injury claim, there are certain types of losses that you could be compensated for. This includes the medical bills you’ve incurred so far and the bills you’ll have in the future to treat your injuries. If your injuries required you to take sick time or miss work, or if your future earning potential is reduced or eliminated by the accident, you could obtain monetary damages to compensate you for lost wages. The hunter who shot you – or, more likely, his or her insurance company – may be responsible for all of these costs. You may also obtain monetary damages to compensate for the pain and suffering and emotional distress you endured.
5. What if a firearm accident resulted in the death of my family member?
If a hunting accident was fatal, then the surviving family members of the deceased victim may bring a wrongful death claim against the hunter who caused the accident. Wrongful death damages include payment for conscious pain and suffering, loss of services and loss of the deceased’s wages.
6. Do hunters have insurance that will cover gunshot injuries?
When you drive a car, you need to buy liability insurance, but there is no such requirement when you own a gun or go hunting. This means that hunters don’t necessarily have any kind of insurance policy that pays for damages if they cause an accident.
Some hunters voluntarily purchase insurance from a hunting club or a hunting organization. These policies can cover claims made by injured hunters. In many cases, homeowners or renters insurance will cover the damages in shooting accident. This is because most homeowner’s/renter’s policies cover accidental injuries caused by the insured’s negligence.
7. What steps do I need to take to secure compensation after a hunting accident?
To obtain compensation for a hunting accident, you need to file a claim against the hunter who hurt you. The claim needs to be filed in the correct court and within the permitted time line (the statute of limitations). Once you have filed your claim, you will need to prove your case in court. A Watertown hunting accident lawyer at Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates can help
Another option is to settle outside of court instead of taking the case to trial. This means negotiating with the person who shot you or with the insurance company that covers the shooter. A settlement is an out-of-court agreement where a lump sum is paid to an injured victim in exchange for a release of claims (a formal written promise that you won’t sue). Our Watertown hunting accident lawyers can help negotiate a settlement or bring your case to court if necessary.
8. Should I contact a lawyer after a hunting accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hunting accident, it is important to contact a Watertown hunting accident lawyer right away. An attorney can immediately start the process of evaluating your case, gathering and preserving evidence and preparing a strong claim on your behalf.
At Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, our experienced Watertown accident lawyers represent victims of accidental shootings. Call us now at (315) 782-3547 or 1-800-TALK-LAW (1-800-825-5529) or fill out our online contact form. All calls and inquiries receive a response the same day, usually within one hour. There is no cost for a case review.