I recently read an article that said more and more Texans are investing in insurance which provides them legal representation if criminal charges are brought against them for inappropriately displaying a firearm or using it to defend themselves or their family. It seems that following the trial of George Zimmerman, lots of Texas gun owners are afraid that they might be accused of all sorts of criminal charges simply for possessing or discharging their weapon.
I’m not a criminal lawyer, so I’m not going to comment on Texas’ gun ownership laws or the Zimmerman trial. As a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, however, I think that a far more pressing issue concerning gun ownership is the sheer number of accidental discharges which occur each year – most of which result in serious injuries to the gun owner or their immediate family members.
Although concrete statistics are hard to come by, data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Just Facts, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation suggests that over the past two decades, the average number of accidental gunshot fatalities per year are around 838, although the average figures were much higher around 1991 compared to 2011.
Some of the same sources suggest that the number of non-fatal accidental firearm injuries average 5,411 per year between 2007-2009.
Bear in mind that these statistics come from a variety of sources and that the exact dates and method of compilation varies. However, it does give a high-level picture over an extended period of time which may even out any potential political bias or ineffective means of data collection.
The most solid piece of information comes from the Center for Disease Control which published information reported solely in Texas in 2006. That year, there were 2,402 reported accidental non-fatal firearm injuries.
Injuries caused by an accidental or unintentional gunshots can be extremely serious – and can of course result in death. What most people don’t realize, however – and this is probably because the media always focuses more on criminal law than civil law – is that the accident victim can often recover compensation from the gun owner’s home insurance policy. This includes instances where the victim was the spouse, child, parent, or sibling of the accidental shooter. Home insurance covers accidental gunshot victims just as auto insurance covers passengers injured by a drunk driver.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a firearm mishap it is important that you consult with a board certified personal injury attorney to make sure that you are fully aware of your legal rights and the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries. To speak with a member of the Anderson Law Firm’s legal team, please call us toll free in Texas at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.