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Hunting Accidents: How to Avoid Injuries and When to File a Lawsuit

There’s nothing like the rush of seeing big game come across your line of sight after waiting through a brisk morning. Your practice, preparation and patience are all about to pay off as you snag your first trophy of the season. 

This might describe your perfect day hunting. But what does a not-so-perfect day of hunting look like? What could turn one of your favorite pastimes into a painful encounter? Unfortunately, you’re at risk of injury or illness when you’re out hunting. While the challenge entices many hunters, your injury could be subject to negligence. Keep reading to learn more about different hunting accidents, how they occur and if someone is to blame for your injury.

Hunting Accidents: Types of Accidents, Injuries and Illnesses

There are several ways you can get injured or become ill while you are out hunting. It’s essential to know where these potential dangers are and how you can avoid them if possible. 

Falls

According to the Mayo Clinic, falls are one of the most common forms of injury when hunting. Falls can come from a variety of hazards:

  • Falls from tree stands
  • Tripping on overgrown foliage and rough terrain
  • Stepping into natural landscape features, such as sinkholes or ledges

From bruising to broken bones and paralysis, falls can cause a variety of injuries. It’s essential to see where you’re going to prevent tripping or stepping into a hazard. When you’re trekking in the early morning, make sure to use a flashlight or headlamp. If you use a tree stand, it’s essential to use a safety harness to avoid a collapse without protection. 

Shot by Accident: Misfire and Weapons Malfunction

Firearm safety is crucial when hunting. From unloading their weapon from the truck to pulling the trigger, hunters must show the utmost care when handling their gun. When breaking down the top ways hunting/firearm-related injuries and deaths occur, one hunting safety resource found that the top four causes included: 

  1. A lack of judgment
  2. Safety rule violations
  3. Lack of control and practice
  4. Mechanical failure

It’s essential for hunters to get the proper permits and safety training, as an untrained or inexperienced hunter can have a lapse in judgment, severely injuring another person. If hunting in pairs, hunters must communicate with one another and other hunters in the area. Lack of communication can lead to misfires.

Firearm malfunctions can happen for a myriad of reasons ranging from improper ammunition to manufacturer defects. Hunters need to have a properly cleaned and maintained rifle while in the field to lessen the likelihood of a malfunction.

Weather-related Illnesses

Exposure to the elements can result in weather-related illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite if you’re hunting during the coldest months of the year. It’s essential to have proper clothing and gear to help your body retain heat throughout long days in the cold. Staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol while hunting can help you avoid these illnesses.

Overexertion

If you aren’t prepared to hike a long distance to your hunting spot, walk over rough terrain, carry heavy equipment, handle the adrenaline from spotting a potential trophy or transport your trophy back to your vehicle, you could overwork your heart, leading to a heart attack. Light cardio training leading to hunting season is a great way to make sure you’re healthy enough to contend with the rigors of the hunt.

Hunting Accidents: Allocating Fault

There are a lot of ways you can get injured while hunting. If you sustain a severe injury from an accident, it could be due to gross negligence from the landowner, another hunter in the area, your hunting partner or a hunting guide.

Hunting Accidents and Premises Liability

When you suffer an injury after a trip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, this can result in a premises liability case. However, when allowing people to use their land for recreational activities like hunting, there are some protections granted to property owners. Two situations where liability may be reduced or completely absolved are: 

However, if you are injured due to a malicious or grossly negligent failure of the property owner to warn you of a highly hazardous condition, they are still liable. The amount of negligence the property owner shows will affect your ability to file a claim against them for your injury. Regardless of the amount of negligence the property owner shows, it’s a great idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer after your injury to see if you have a case. 

Hunting Accidents and Hunter Negligence

If you go hunting with another hunter or guide and they intentionally or accidentally harm you, you may be entitled to compensation from them. Another hunter’s negligence can bear itself out in many ways; one of the most common ways is a misfire due to a lapse in judgment when firing or carrying the firearm. This could be considered a breach of the duty of care your friend or guide should show when hunting with someone else.  

Another form of negligence is a fellow hunter mistakenly shooting you while firing in your direction. A hunter should know what is in front of and beyond their target before firing, and they should never shoot at sound or movement.

Getting the Help You Need After a Hunting Accident

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence after hunting, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The team at Eng & Woods has helped countless clients win cases and get settlements to recover after devastating injuries. We’re dedicated to giving you excellent representation, top-tier legal expertise and unrivaled client service. Visit our contact page today to get in touch with our team to see how we can help. 

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