When somebody is injured on commercial hunting grounds, at a hunting club, or on hunting preserves, the victim may be able to recover damages from the owner under certain circumstances. Injured victims or their family members can speak to a local attorney after the accident to determine hunting company liability and their legal options.
Types of Hunting Accidents
Most hunting trips are safe. But people are still injured or killed every year in hunting accidents. One of the most common types of hunting accident involves accidental shooting of another person. One hunter may mistake another for an animal, the gun may accidentally discharge, or the hunter may miss the target and hit someone.
Below are a few other examples of accidents that can occur on hunting grounds.
- Running or jumping fences with a loaded gun
- Falling in unmarked ditches or trenches
- Shooting near an occupied building or across a roadway
- Falling out of a rickety tree stand
- Deer blind fires from defective heaters
- Faulty gun that fires accidentally
Understanding Hunting Club Liability for Accidents
Landowners’ legal responsibilities in an accident on their premises depend upon the type of relationship they have with the victims. There are three categories into which a hunting accident victim may fall.
- Trespasser: If you were hunting on someone else’s land or a hunting preserve without permission, you will most likely be a trespasser and the owner may not be liable for your injuries.
- Licensee: If you were hunting on someone else’s property with permission and you didn’t have to pay a fee to the owner, you are a licensee. Friends, family members, and business visitors fall under this category. Hunting grounds owners have a legal duty to warn licensees about known dangers on the property, but may not have to warn about obvious dangers.
- Invitee: When the landowner benefits from your presence, you might be an invitee. If you had to pay a fee to use the land, you exchanged funds (owner’s benefit) for your right of access. In this case, the owner has a responsibility to ensure the grounds are relatively safe. He also has to warn you of any dangers or hazards. If the owner fails to do so, he or she may be liable for an accident.
Negligence in Hunting Accidents
Essentially, negligence must be present in some manner and it must have contributed to the accident in order for the hunting grounds owner to be liable in a claim. In other words, the owner must have known about a danger (or should have known about it) and failed to fix or warn visitors about it. Examples of actions considered negligence are below.
- Failing to fix a wobbly, worn-down tree stand
- Failing to inspect or replace worn safety harnesses
- Failing to warn hunters or put up signage around old wells or deep ditches
Also, it’s important to note that it’s not only the hunting club owner who might be legally liable for a hunting accident. In some cases, it might a gun manufacturer, heater manufacturer, or deer blind manufacturer. Also, if shot intentionally by another on a hunting property, there may not only be a civil liability case, but also a criminal case.
Determining hunting accident liability can be difficult. Speak to a lawyer familiar with hunting accident cases about who might be responsible for paying for your damages and how to best pursue your case.
Consulting a Hunting Accident Attorney at the Miley Legal Group
If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a hunting accident in Clarksburg, discuss your case with one of our attorneys at the Miley Legal Group. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at 304-931-4088.