According to the National Center for Injury Protection and Control, over 70,000 people are treated in emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot injuries annually. Another 30,000 are killed each year from gun-related unintentional shootings, homicides, and suicides. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states gun accidents result in more than 15 percent of the injuries and fatalities from gunshot wounds.
If you’ve been injured due to an accidental shooting, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, you must determine who is at fault.
There are two types of shootings Florida law recognizes: accidental and negligent gun accidents. The latter can lead to a personal injury claim, while the former is much more difficult to prove. Therefore, the more evidence you have demonstrating another party’s negligence was responsible, the stronger your claim will be.
Let’s take a closer look at each type of discharge:
- Accidental discharge – Despite the fact that the gun owner is properly trained and took all necessary safety precautions, accidental discharge incidents can still occur. For instance, a student’s finger slipped off the trigger guard onto the trigger during a training session, causing the gun to fire.
- Negligent discharge – This occurs when the gun owner or shooter fails to take proper safety measures when using a firearm, thus endangering other people's safety. For example, during a training session, the instructor handed a gun to a student informing him it wasn’t ready to fire because the safety was engaged. While holding the gun, the student placed his finger on the trigger, and it fired.
If inadequate training or knowledge of a firearm causes an accident gun accident, the gun owner, or even the owner of a property or director of a training course where the incident occurs may be held liable. If the accident was caused by a defect, then the gun manufacturer may be held responsible for the injuries.