What Are My Options If I Get Injured in a Hunting Accident?
Corradino and Papa, LLC, a personal injury law firm in Clifton, New Jersey, has shared some basic legal advice for hunters to consider regarding hunting accidents as deer season 2019 approaches.
According to survey data from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 11.5 million people over the age of 16 go hunting each year. Despite the use of firearms, bows, and other lethal weapons for hunting purposes, the sport of hunting is not very dangerous from a statistical perspective. The International Hunter Education Association estimates that each year, fewer than 1,000 people in the United States and Canada are the victims of shooting-related hunting accidents. Of that number, fewer than 75 cases are fatalities.
Notwithstanding, Robert Papa, Jr. of Corradino and Papa advises hunters and non-hunters alike to be aware of their legal rights in case they should find themselves the victims of hunting-related accidents.
“Things can happen out in the woods,” Papa said. “A hunter might see a runner, mistake him for a deer, and shoot. Another hunter might trip, fall, and accidentally shoot a member of his hunting party. Whether you are a dedicated hunter or someone who likes to go for hikes out on one of New Jersey’s many beautiful trails, there is always a risk during the hunting season of being hurt in a hunting accident. If that happens to you, it’s important to know what your legal options might be.”
Papa says that most hunting injury cases qualify as negligence cases. In negligence matters, the injury victim and his or her lawyer must prove that the defendant did exercise reasonable care and was therefore responsible for the hunting accident. A defendant may be considered negligent for several reasons. For instance, if the accident was caused by a child who a parent was teaching to hunt, the parent could be held liable or negligent for lack of proper training or supervision. In other cases, the hunter may be remiss for not responsibly handling a firearm, for not learning how to discharge a weapon safely, or for firing a weapon without taking care to make sure the area was clear of potential human victims.
“There are a lot of factors that go into determining whether a hunter was negligent for injuring or killing a plaintiff,” Papa said. “The court will consider the defendant’s behavior leading up to the accident. They’ll consider how experienced the hunter was. They’ll consider what the hunter did after the accident and in response to the accident”. If the accident was due to a product defect, the manufacturer of the gun or bow might share some liability there. Having a personal injury lawyer in your corner who has experience handling cases related to hunting accidents can help you formulate a case and prove that the defendant was liable.
Papa encourages hunters and non-hunters alike to exercise caution this fall when out in the woods. Wearing bright, reflective clothing and applying smart handling of firearms are two habits that can help prevent hunting accidents and save lives. However, Papa also says that victims in these cases should not be held responsible for them and deserve maximum compensation for their injuries, medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
“At Corradino and Papa, we have worked with many victims of hunting accidents over the years, and have recovered millions of dollars in damages on their behalf,” Papa said. “If you or a loved has been injured in a hunting accident, we want to help. Anyone can call us at 973-574-1200 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers.”