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Hunting Accidents -- When to Sue for Injuries

By Christopher Coble, Esq.

Enjoying the great outdoors, while also possibly bagging dinner, is a great American pastime in many parts of the country. But every now and then, a hunting expedition goes awry and someone ends up injured.

From falling on someone else's property to having a rifle misfire, hunting can be dangerous even for the most responsible hunters. If you've been injured while hunting, when and whom can you sue for your injuries?

Against the Property Owner

If you're hunting on someone else's property, you could have an injury claim against the property owner. Under premises liability, a property owner could be liable for accidents and injuries that occur on his or her property, based on the idea that property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment, and owe visitors a duty of care.

While this duty may be diminished if you are trespassing, if you're injured by an unsafe condition that the property owner knew about, knew was dangerous, and failed to warn about, you may still have a valid injury claim. And if you are injured hunting on state or federal property, you may have a premises liability claim against the government.

Against the Weapon Manufacturer

Hunters are known for being obsessive about their gear, but their weapon of choice may not always meet their exacting standards. So if you're injured due to a weapon malfunction, like a crossbow that severs your thumb, you could have a product liability claim against the weapon's manufacturer or seller.

A product liability claim is based on a product having a defect in design, manufacturing, or warning. Manufacturer or seller should be on the hook for any injuries caused by the defect.

Against Another Hunter

In some extreme cases, a hunter is injured by one of his own. These accidents are normally due to the other hunter's negligence, but in some instances a hunter has acted recklessly (by disregarding gun safety rules or by drinking) and put other hunters at risk.

Be safe out there, hunters. But if you've been injured despite your best intentions, you may want to talk to an experienced injury attorney about your case.

The law firm of Hallett, Zerillo, and Whipple, P.A. are Maine attorneys representing clients who have been seriously injured, accused of crimes in state and federal court, have business litigation needs or family law and divorce cases. Various attorneys in the firm have been locally and nationally recognized for their achievements, including admission into New England Super Lawyers, the Client's Choice Award from AVVO.com, and the President's Award from the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. For more information on the firm, please visit www.HZWlaw.com.

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