Hunting is a sport many people enjoy year-round in Mississippi. While deer stand injuries account for approximately 90% of all hunting accidents, accidental gunshots are still a big risk. It is a requirement that safety guidelines are learned and followed in order to obtain a hunting license, and there is a large focus on gun safety for a reason. Hunting accidents caused by firearms can result in a wide range of injuries that can either take time to heal or end up taking a life.
Negligent handling of guns can lead to catastrophic injuries
Just because you have handled a gun a particular way for a long time does not mean it is the safest way to do so. You may have just been lucky but eventually luck may run out and you could injure yourself or an unsuspecting hunter in the area.
A Columbia hunter accidentally shot himself after climbing a 23-foot ladder into a stand then reeling in his Winchester rifle tied at the end of a rope, which was his common practice. An icy tree limb the man had kicked away from the bottom of the stand where his gun was leaning was believed to have lodged itself in a way that moved the gun into the firing position. It discharged as he pulled it up the tree.
The accident caused:
- Nearly severing his leg at the calf
- A bullet wound to the opposite foot
- Loss of his big toe
- Several surgeries and procedures
- Physical therapy
Failure to transport guns properly
In 2018, a duck hunter near Eagle Lake lost his leg in a hunting accident when a dog accidentally stepped on a gun being transported in the bed of the parties’ truck causing it to discharge. Where the man went wrong at a minimum is by failing to unload and case his gun before placing it into the truck. The action also should have been open, or he should have broken down the gun to make it safe. While nobody could predict the dog would jump onto the gun in just the right manner, had it been inside a case, the accident likely would have been prevented.
The accident caused the man to:
- Die twice during transport to a Jackson hospital
- Lay unconscious for 12 days
- Have his left leg amputated due to being shot in the hip
Self-control and target identification
Some hunters can get caught up in the excitement or become overly anxious at the idea of earning a kill. This can and does lead to careless behavior by reacting to sounds, colors, movements, or even unidentified shapes.
The potential for other accidental discharges to occur comes when a hunter instinctively just swings their rifle and takes off running towards an animal without engaging the safety. It takes practice but slow, deliberate actions when shooting is the only way to really hunt with everyone’s safety in mind.
Depending upon where you are hunting and how a gunshot accident happens, the hunter may not be the only one to blame for your injuries. Owners of hunting clubs or property where hunts are permitted may be held liable. So could manufacturers whose firearms are proven defective.
If you have been injured in a hunting accident on someone else’s land or due to negligence, let the dedicated Mississippi hunting accident attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. safeguard your claim. We know how to stop the insurance companies from attempting to turn the fault around to blame the victim and fight to get your claim paid fairly and quickly.
Call us at 662-302-2979 to schedule your free case consultation, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. We have offices located in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford for your convenience in addition to proudly serving clients in the City of Tupelo.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.