Accidental shootings can lead to severe injuries or fatalities. When a firearm discharges unintentionally and causes harm, it's natural to question who bears responsibility.
Accidental discharge vs. negligence
Accidental shootings usually fall into one of two categories: accidental discharges and negligence.
- Accidental discharge:This refers to a situation where a firearm fires without any intent from the person holding the weapon. Common causes of accidental discharges include mechanical malfunctions or defects in the firearm itself. In these cases, the responsibility often lies with the manufacturer or distributor, as the accident results from a product flaw.
- Negligence:Negligence-based accidental shootings occur when someone fails to follow proper firearm safety practices. This could involve mishandling a loaded firearm, not engaging safety mechanisms or playing with a firearm recklessly. In such cases, the responsibility typically rests with the person who was negligent in handling the weapon.
Potentially liable parties
- Firearm owner:If the owner of the firearm was negligent in securing or using it safely, they may be held responsible for accidental shootings that occur on their property or involve their weapon.
- Manufacturer or distributor: In cases of accidental discharge due to a firearm defect, the manufacturer or distributor may be liable. Product liability laws could apply, holding them responsible for injuries caused by their product's malfunction.
- Firearm instructor or range officer:When accidental shootings occur at shooting ranges or during training sessions, the instructor or range officer may be held accountable if they failed to enforce proper safety protocols.
- Parents or guardians:If a minor is involved in an accidental shooting, their parents or legal guardians may face legal consequences if they did not secure the firearm or failed to educate the minor about firearm safety.
Accidental shootings can be emotionally and legally complex. Responsibility for these incidents depends on the specific circumstances. If you’ve been injured in a firearm accident, call the experienced Sarasota, FL accident attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.