A Mercer County shooting victim is litigating his personal injury claim against the shooter and the shooter's homeowner's insurance company. After a verbal confrontation, the shooter followed the victim to a local convenience store. When the victim tried to leave the store, the shooter was knocked to the ground, causing his hand gun to discharge. The bullet entered the victim's right shoulder and traveled through his body striking his spinal cord, lung, and ribs before eventually lodging into his left arm. Among other injuries, the bullet caused a burst compression fracture of the T3 and T4 vertebrae and irreversible paralysis from the chest down.
In order for the victim to recover in this case, attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. made a claim against the shooter and his homeowner's insurance policy. Pursuant to the insuring agreement, the policy holder agrees to pay sums which an insured (the shooter) becomes liable as a result of bodily injury caused by an accident. It was critical in this case that the attorneys were able to show the shooting was accidental and not intentional. Once the attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. showed that the shooting was accidental, the shooter's homeowners insurance offered their maximum policy limits to the victim.
In another firearm safety case, the attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. helped a victim of a hunting accident receive compensation for her injuries. The victim in this accident was riding an All-Terrain Vehicle when she was hit by the bullet from a .22 caliber rifle. The shooter was attempting to hunt a groundhog on his father's farm and did not properly identify what was beyond his target before shooting. He missed the ground hog and the bullet penetrated the victim's leg, causing a femoral artery and vein injury. The victim was able to recover without any permanent injuries and a settlement was reached between the victim and the shooter and his homeowners insurance in the amount of $77,500.
These two incidents are not the only two recent examples of accidental gunshot injuries in Western Pennsylvania. On September 25, 2014, an Indiana County baby was struck by a stray bullet. While in his father's arms in their Saltsburg, PA home, a newborn was tragically struck in the eye by a bullet from a hunter's .306 rifle. Thankfully, doctors were able to save the newborn's life; however, the injuries have left the baby permanently blind.
The Indiana County District Attorney told reporters that the hunter in question was accompanied by another hunter and that the two men possess what are known as "red tags." Red tagging, or red tag hunting, is the practice of hunting deer out of season in an effort to control the population and protect local agriculture. Police believe that the shooting was not intentional, but are currently investigating as to whether or not the shooter and his hunting partner were following proper red tag hunting protocol.
At Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., we know there are a lot of hunters in our region and that hunters and residents alike are probably shaken by the events that took place in Indiana and Mercer Counties. For your information, we have put together some firearm and hunting safety rules that everyone who lives in an area where hunting is prevalent should know. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, you can call the personal injury attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. for a free consultation at 800-777-4081.
10 Commandments of Firearm Safety:
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
- Don't rely on your gun's safety.
- Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
- Use proper ammunition.
- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
- Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.
- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
Safety Clothing: There are different rules and regulations for wearing fluorescent orange, depending on what the hunter is hunting and the season. It is extremely important to follow these rules.
Handguns: Special Permits must be acquired to carry handguns. A hunting license does not allow a person to carry a concealed handgun or a loaded handgun in their vehicle
Loaded Weapons & Vehicles: A firearm is loaded when there is a live round in the chamber of the weapon, or when if there are live rounds in a magazine that is attached to the weapon. It is against the law to have a loaded firearm in, on top of, or leaning against a motor vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion.
If you have anymore questions, call the personal injury attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. today at 800-777-4081.