Guns are controversial. As we've talked about in this blog, there is much debate over the status of the Second Amendment right to bear arm. Regardless of your stance of gun ownership, it is likely we can all agree that guns must be handled with great care. Accidental shootings are all-too-common, especially since these tragedies are preventable. Our Panama City injury law firm has the knowledge and experience that is crucial to helping people who were injured, or the families of people who perished, as a result of gun accidents in Florida's Panhandle region.
WJHG is covering the Bay County Sheriff's office continued investigation into the death of a local man from a gunshot. Last Wednesday, officers received a call from Blaine Kendall, who told a 911 operator that he had accidentally shot his roommate. Police arrived at the Cypress Street home in Panama City Beach and found 24-year-old Thomas Reid Crawford dead. Initially, Kendall said Crawford tripped on a loaded shotgun but, when evidence did not support this statement, he changed his explanation. Later, Kendall admitted that he had picked up the gun and inadvertently pulled the trigger while holding the weapon. Major Tommy Ford from the Bay County Sheriff's Office said, while the investigation is ongoing, they do believe the shooting was an accident. He did add that they have filed charges against Kendall for providing false information.
Accidental shootings can occur in a range of settings, including private homes, stores, shooting ranges, or even outdoors. Some of the more common incidents leading to an accidental shooting include: cleaning a gun without checking to see if it is loaded or if the safety is on; accidentally pulling the trigger when handing the gun to another individual; firing a weapon into the sky; "playing" around with a gun, including mimicking firing the gun; or handling a gun while intoxicated. Other types of recreational items, such as airsoft guns or paintball guns, can also cause serious injury and give rise to a civil claim.
In order to bring a successful civil claim for an accidental shooting, a victim must point to some form of negligence. The negligence can be on the behalf of the shooter, gun owner, gun manufacturer, or a property owner. As a general matter, gun owners are responsible for preventing the gun from falling into the hands of another, including an adult or a child, and failing to properly store a gun can give rise to a claim. Defective firearms are more common than one would hope, and they can give rise to product defect claims. Victims can bring an injury claim themselves, and Florida law grants specified family members (usually the most immediate relative/s) the right to bring a wrongful death claim if the victim dies as a result of the injuries.
Another important note: in some cases, an accidental shooting may be covered by a homeowner's insurance policy. Of course, as anyone who has ever filed an insurance claim can attest, the fact that insurance may apply does not mean the process will be easy. Hiring a lawyer is still often necessary to receive the full compensation a victim is due.
Guns are controversial, but our Panama City accidental shooting law firm believes that representing people injured in gun accidents doesn't need to be. Call for a free consultation with Attorney Wes Pittman – a Panama City personal injury lawyer with the experience and knowledge necessary to helping victims recover.