Accidental shootings are a serious and preventable cause of injury and death in North Carolina. Unfortunately, irresponsible gun owners may improperly secure a weapon or allow an intoxicated or inexperienced individual access to their firearm. If an accidental shooting does occur because of someone’s negligence, an experienced attorney can help you recover just compensation.
Shooting injuries are frequently life-threatening. Even relatively “minor” wounds can have a lasting effect on the victim. Common examples of injuries sustained in an accidental shooting include:
- Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations or puncture wounds, are common in accidental shootings. The bullet’s impact often leads to severe skin damage and can also affect underlying tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Bone Fractures – Gunshot wounds to the bone can cause fractures, from cracks to complex breaks. Depending on the location, these may require surgery and can result in long-term complications like chronic pain and mobility issues.
- Organ Damage – Bullets can penetrate the body, causing significant organ damage. This is particularly dangerous when vital organs like the heart, lungs, or kidneys are affected.
- Psychological Trauma – It’s important to consider the long-term psychological impact of an accidental shooting. Victims may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions following the incident.
In North Carolina, victims of accidental shootings may be able to seek compensation from the person who caused the shooting if they can prove that the person acted intentionally, or even negligently or recklessly. Negligence or recklessness may include failing to properly store, handle, or use a firearm or violating any laws or regulations regarding firearms. Many times this includes a shooter accidentally discharging a gun because of inexperience or impairment due to alcohol or drugs.
Owning a gun is a right that comes with great responsibility. Gun owners must safely store their guns and ensure that others, especially children, cannot access them. Owners of firearms must also use their weapons responsibly, or they can be held liable for injuries and deaths.
Property owners can sometimes be held responsible in the event of injury to a visitor to their premises. For instance, if firearms are stored or used on the property, the owner must take steps to prevent unsafe operation of the firearm. If the incident occurred at a gun range or club, the range’s negligence may factor into a visitor’s injury. For instance, if a trainer authorized the shooter to use a particular firearm despite not being adequately trained on that firearm, the trainer and their employer can possibly be held liable.
Gun manufacturers generally are not liable for misuse of their products. If someone accidentally (or intentionally) fired a gun at another person, generally the responsibility is solely that of the shooter. The gun did what it was supposed to do. However, if a defect causes a misfire or explosion, the manufacturer may face legal consequences.
Personal injury coverage for accidental shootings varies depending on the type of insurance policy and the circumstances of the incident. Generally, insurance coverage comes from the property owner or shooter’s liability insurance, whether that be homeowner’s, renter’s, or general commercial liability. In some rare cases, even automobile insurance coverage may be invoked (for example, when a gun is accidentally discharged during transportation in an automobile).
Most homeowners’ insurance policies provide liability coverage for accidental shootings that occur on the insured property or by the insured person if the shooting was not intentional or criminal. Renter’s policies work similarly. An experienced accidental shooting lawyer can help you determine where coverage is available in each case.
The amount and type of damages a personal injury lawyer can recover for you depends on the shooting’s circumstances and its effects on your life. The most common expenses we recover include medical expenses, lost wages (including future earnings), pain and suffering, and permanent injury and scarring.
Representation for Accidental Shooting Injuries
Gun accidents can have devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities. If you were injured in a shooting accident, contact our experienced intake team to speak with an attorney. Our firm has three conveniently located offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Fayetteville. For information on each branch, visit the Locations tab in the navigation menu. To reach an intake specialist, visit our contact page or submit a chat through our Live Chat feature.