Maryland’s gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. Potential handgun owners must go through background checks, complete a firearms course, and obtain various permits, and all assault weapons are banned in the state. However, even in the most well-prepared households, accidents still happen. Gunshots can go off unintentionally and injure people.
Determining who exactly is at fault — the gun manufacturer, the gun owner, the owner of the property at which the shooting took place, or the store that sold the gun — requires the help of an experienced accidental gunshot injury lawyer. If you have been injured by an accidental gunshot in Baltimore, get in touch with the Baltimore accidental gunshot injury lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Our attorneys can figure out who is responsible for your injuries and seek appropriate compensation for your damages. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Causes of Accidental Gunshot Injuries
Accidental gunshot injuries can be caused by the careless handling of a weapon, defective parts, improper manufacturing, or other negligent behavior. Common causes of accidental gunshot injuries include:
- Gun user negligence or recklessness (failing to store the gun properly, failing to go through gun safety training, using the gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, shooting at targets in a populated area)
- Defective manufacturing or product failure
- Failure to inform other people about the presence of the gun
- Mishaps during criminal acts, such as robberies and assaults
Accidental gunshots can result in a wide variety of injuries. Bleeding, broken bones, and organ damage are the most common injuries that result from accidental gunshot wounds, although lead poisoning, nerve injury, and PTSD are also possible.
Determining Liability for an Accidental Gunshot Injury
Figuring out who is liable for an accidental gunshot injury can be complicated. Since the degree of care that is needed to properly use a gun is so high, there is an opportunity for negligence every time someone comes into contact with a gun.
In some cases, multiple parties may be held partially liable for your injuries. If you have been injured by an accidental gunshot, any of the following parties may be held responsible:
Gun Owner or Shooter
A gun owner may be liable for your accidental gunshot injury – even if they did not pull the trigger themselves – if someone else accessed the gun because the gun owner failed to properly lock up and store the weapon. Whether or not they own the gun that injured the victim, the shooter may be held responsible for the accidental gunshot injury if they failed to observe proper safety protocol.
Examples of behavior that can lead a shooter to be held responsible for accidental gunshot injuries include using a gun while drunk or under the influence of drugs, playing with a gun in a careless manner, or firing a gun into the air during a celebration (the stray bullet can injure others in the vicinity when it falls back down to ground level).
However, there are exceptions that can justify accidental shooting injuries. If a gun owner fires a gun in self-defense, they may not be responsible for accidental injuries to other people in the vicinity. Also, police officers that have a reasonable fear that they are in imminent danger can usually avoid liability for accidental shooting injuries.
Homeowners can be held responsible for accidental gunshot injuries that take place on their property if they failed to safely store their gun and the weapon was used to accidentally injure someone, especially if the person that used the gun was a child.
In some cases, a gun manufacturer may be held responsible for an accidental gun injury if the gun that was used in the shooting was defective.
Store That Sold the Gun
If the gun store or gun dealer that sold the gun used in the accidental shooting did not perform a background check during the sale, they might be held responsible for the injuries that happened as a result of the shooting.
Recovering Damages for an Accidental Gunshot Injury
Perhaps the most useful thing that a Baltimore accidental gunshot injury attorney can do to help you recover damages following your injury is to determine who is at fault. Your lawyer can look through all the evidence related to the shooting to figure who whether the gun owner, homeowner, gun manufacturer, or gun seller can be held responsible.
To prove that a particular party is responsible for your injury, you and your lawyer will have to show that the party’s negligence was the cause of your injury. Proving negligence requires establishing four elements: that there was a duty of care on the part of the responsible party, that the duty of care was breached, that this breach of duty caused your injuries, and that your injuries caused damages that can be compensated. A lawyer can also help you by negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Damages that can be recovered through a personal injury lawsuit following an accidental gunshot include medical bills, loss of income, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering; punitive damages are also available in some cases.
Attorney for Accidental Gunshot Injuries Available in Baltimore
If you have been injured by an accidental gunshot in Baltimore, get in touch with Rice, Murtha & Psoras as soon as possible to learn more about how you can receive compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Our Baltimore accidental gunshot injury lawyers will work hard to figure out who should be held responsible for your injuries and make sure they’re held accountable. Call us today at (410) 694-7291.