Hunting season can be perilous for hunters as well as their prey. While hunting accidents are fairly uncommon, they can cause serious injuries, and, on rare occasions, death. Because hunters use guns of various makes and sizes, many people think the majority of hunting injuries result from accidental shootings. Surprisingly, tree stands are actually the biggest culprits when it comes to hunting accidents.
Here is an overview of common hunting dangers and how an experienced hunting accident lawyer can win the compensation you deserve if you are hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Contrary to popular assumption, the majority of hunting accidents are not caused by misfired guns or wayward arrows. In fact, according to data from the National Safety Council, accidental shootings, including those involving hunters, comprise only about one percent of all gun-related deaths and injuries. The other 99 percent are due to suicide and intentional homicide.
Somewhat surprisingly, falls from tree stands are the most common hunting accidents. While accidental shootings have declined over the past two decades, tree stand-related injuries have increased. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic estimate as many as 4,000 people are hurt each year after falling from a tree stand. What’s more, many of these injuries are serious, such as broken bones, concussions and internal bleeding. On rare occasions, a fall can result in paralysis, brain damage or even death.
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Most falls occur when hunters are climbing up or down the tree stand without wearing a full-body harness that connects the hunter to the tree using a woven slack line. Although these safety systems are included with many manufactured tree stands and can be purchased from any hunting supply retailer, many hunters fail to wear them despite the protection they afford.
Other tree stand falls may occur when a hunter is overly tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Again, a full-body harness generally keeps the hunter from falling more than 12 inches, reducing the likelihood of serious or fatal injuries.
Hunters can be seriously injured in other types of accidents, some of which are preventable and others that are unavoidable. Here are some examples:
To win a lawsuit, however, the accident must be the result of another party’s negligence, such as a property owner, a hunter, or the manufacturer of a defective product.
Determining liability for a hunting accident depends on several factors. In any situation, a victim must prove their injuries resulted from another party’s negligence. This is a challenge in any personal injury case, but hunting accidents can be especially complex because there are so many variables.
Depending on the circumstances, one or more of the following parties could be held responsible:
If a hunter is injured in a slip and fall accident, the property owner could be liable for failing to maintain a safe environment. However, the victim would have to prove the owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and neglected to remove or repair it. In addition, the victim must have permission to be on the property in order to hold the owner responsible. In most cases, a trespasser is not entitled to recover compensation for injuries sustained in an accident.
In the case of an accidental shooting, the victim may be able to file a claim against the person who fired the gun. Nonetheless, the injured party still has to prove the shooter was reckless and/or negligent, which can be difficult if there are no other witnesses.
Some accidental shootings happen because of a malfunctioning or defective firearm. In that instance, the victim would have to provide evidence the gun was faulty and that the accident was not caused by improper handling.
Tree stand or harness manufacturer
If a hunter falls because a tree stand was defective or a harness failed, the victim may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer of the faulty product.
In all of these examples and more, hiring a knowledgeable hunting accident lawyer will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
There are many good reasons to hire a hunting accident lawyer if you are injured because of another party’s negligence. First, research shows that plaintiffs represented by attorneys typically receive larger verdicts and settlements than those who handle their own claims. Furthermore, like most personal injury cases, these lawsuits often involve complex legal issues that require the expertise of an experienced hunting accident lawyer.
Proving a property owner or another hunter was negligent can be difficult, especially because these accidents are not always witnessed by a third party. It can be equally challenging to prove an accident resulted from a defective product such as a gun, harness or tree stand.
Finally, Michigan uses the “modified comparative negligence” concept to determine compensation for personal injury cases. This means a settlement may be reduced by the degree of fault attributed to the plaintiff, and victims must be less than 50% at fault to receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. For example, if the injured hunter had been drinking, the defendant and their insurance company will use that to avoid responsibility, even if the accident would have occurred regardless.
Therefore, a plaintiff who is represented by a skilled hunting accident lawyer is far more likely to prevail in a lawsuit and win significant compensation.
If you are injured in a hunting accident, contact us immediately. Our experienced lawyers know what it takes to build a successful case, and we have a long history of winning large verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Hunting accident law is complicated, but finding the right hunting accident lawyer is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
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