Some people look forward to the holiday season. For others, it is football season that's marked on their mental calendar. Still others, including many here in Northwest Florida, anticipate hunting season most of all. While hunting can be a great, active hobby, one that often serves as a bonding opportunity for families and friends (with an added benefit of helping to stock the freezer!), it can also be incredibly dangerous. Hunting accidents are a real and serious danger, especially for young people. When someone is hurt or killed because of the negligent or reckless acts of another person or a company, our Panama City hunting accident attorney can help.
This week, WMBB covered a milestone in the healing process of a local teen who lost the lower part of her right leg in a hunting accident. Andrea Wright, a freshman at Vernon High, spent almost a full month recovering at Pensacola's Sacred Heart Hospital. She recently returned to her Washington County home and expressed thanks to the many people who contributed to fundraisers for her care. As described in a previous article by the Chipley Paper, Andrea was climbing into a four-wheeler to go deer hunting on a January Sunday when her shotgun discharged, striking her leg.
A pediatrician-authored article on About.com notes that gun-related accidents of all types (not just hunting) are 1 of the top 10 causes of accidental child death for all age groups, with the exception of newborns and infants. During 2007, 122 children died as a result of unintentional firearm deaths, and approximately 1,375 children were hospitalized for injuries tied to an additional 3,060 nonfatal gun and shooting accidents. These rates, according to Dr. Iannelli's article, remained steady through at least 2010, when 114 youths under age 18 died in firearm accidents.
It is difficult to pinpoint how many of the shooting accidents involve childhood hunting. The article notes there isn't a solid, up-to-date national database that reports hunting accident statistics. While it has not been updated recently, in 2007 the Hunter Incident Clearinghouse reported 27 hunting-related accidents involving people under age 18.
Dr. Iannelli also responds to the National Shooting Sports Foundation's suggestion that statistics show hunting injuries are equivalent to injuries from billiards or bowling and that they are much less common than golf- or tennis-related injuries. He notes that there is a lack of perspective in these statements, and he also points out that a gun accident is more likely to be fatal than a golf or tennis injury.
After detailing a number of hunting-related incidents that left a child injured or killed, Dr. Iannelli notes that the list does not include the scenario in which a young hunter accidentally shoots an adult, a situation that may be more common than harm to the child.
In the end, Dr. Iannelli concludes that the possibility of an accident doesn't mean you can't take your children hunting, just that safety must be a top priority. We agree with Dr. Iannelli's safety-first approach. As a Panama City injury law firm, we also believe that people should be held accountable when their failure to take proper precautions causes harm to another, be it a child or an adult.
If another hunter's negligence hurt you or your child, you may have a civil claim. Likewise, if the accident involved a product failure, a product liability claim may be appropriate. As always, Attorney Pittman offers a free consultation to help accident victims, including hunting accident victims, review their options.