Hunting is an enjoyable sport and recreation for many. Unfortunately, hunting is also inherently dangerous. In fact, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were a total of 8,122 injuries due to hunting accidents nationally. That equals 50 injuries per 100,000 participants.
Most victims are hunters—however, non-hunters are also sometimes injured or killed as well. If you or a loved one was hurt in a hunting mishap, consider reaching out to a Michigan hunting accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. A well-versed attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could work to gather evidence and pursue a claim for compensation on your behalf.
How Mistakes Happen
While mistakes and mishaps can arise from any number of circumstances, there are common causes of hunting accidents throughout the state. These include:
- A person moving into the hunter’s line of fire
- Falling from a treestand
- A hunter swinging on game to fire, unaware that a person is standing in the way
- A person who is out of sight or out of distance of the hunter, who then misidentifies the target
Many times, the victim of these mishaps is from the same hunting group as the shooter. Often, however, the victim is from a separate hunting group, or is simply a pedestrian. No matter the circumstances, a Michigan hunting accident lawyer could help to determine who could be held legally liable to provide compensation.
Tree Stand Injuries
Deer tree stand platforms allow a hunter to position themselves out of sight of game for optimal camouflage and shooting position. While there are several designs, the majority of commercially built deer stands are attached to trees at heights exceeding 10 feet. If a stand is defective, a hunter is at serious risk of suffering severe injuries. Unfortunately, tree stands detaching from trees are not uncommon.
Furthermore, if a hunter is not wearing a safety harness, they are likely to fall to the ground, which could result in dislocated body parts, broken bones, permanent paralysis, and even fatal injuries. Making matters worse, because people usually hunt alone, it can often be hours before an injured person is found. It is estimated that nearly 10 percent of all hunters who use a tree stand will fall over the course of a 10-year-period. Besides injuries, the medical costs of a trip to the emergency room and rehabilitation, as well as lost wages, can make a fall from a defective tree stand a life-changing experience.
Pursuing a Lawsuit
When a person is injured or killed in a hunting mishap, the responsible party might be held liable for the losses sustained by an injured individual or their surviving family members. However, in most of these lawsuits, the injured claimant or family of the deceased must first prove that the hunter who caused the injury or death was negligent.
This means that the hunter failed to act in a safe or reasonable manner, or was reckless in their use of the firearm. Many times, this negligence arises because the hunter failed to take proper safety precautions or was even intoxicated at the time of the accident. A knowledgeable Michigan lawyer who is familiar with claims arising from hunting accidents could help explain how negligence is determined in these claims.
Safety Tips to Prevent Hunting Injuries
There are certain safety tips that all hunters should follow to try to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them. These tips include:
- Treat every gun as if it is loaded, even when you are sure it is not
- Have your boat, motor, and trailer serviced before the season starts. Make sure everything mechanical is in good running order and that batteries are at full charge
- Never go hunting without telling someone where you are going and when you expect to return
- Before you hunt, open your gun’s action and check the muzzle for obstructions. Make sure to always point the muzzle in a safe direction
- Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot
- Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target. Before you pull the trigger, you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Instead, use binoculars
- Carry a cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag when hunting. Cell phone service is available in most places around the county. If an emergency arises, you can call for help
- Unload firearms and unstring conventional bows when not in use. Leave actions open, and store sporting arms in cases when traveling to and from shooting areas
- Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it
- Wear hearing and eye protection, as well as appropriate hunting gear and outerwear
- Do not drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows. Alcohol and drugs impair normal physical and mental body functions and must not be used before or while handling firearms or archery equipment
How a Michigan Hunting Accident Attorney Might Help
If you were injured by a hunter—or, while hunting—you may feel traumatized and unsure of how to proceed. Your injuries may be severe, making you miss time from work despite a pile of medical bills.
However, a Michigan hunting accident lawyer might be able to help. By assessing the facts of your case, gathering evidence, and working tirelessly to build a claim, an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could allow you to focus on your recovery. Call today to schedule a claim.
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