Fall brings with it another season beloved by Hoosiers: hunting season. Deer hunting season started in September, and wild turkey began in October. With the Bluegrass Fish and Wildlife Area so close to Evansville, many in the city are taking to the great outdoors to participate in one of America’s oldest pastimes.
At Hensley Legal Group, we hope you’ll be safe this hunting season and follow all necessary rules and precautions to ensure the safety of your hunting group. But unfortunately, hunting accident can and do occur.
If you’re injured while hunting, who is responsible for your injuries? Although every case is different, here are a few likely scenarios.
Who’s Responsible? Yourself
The first person who may be liable for your injuries is you. Make sure that you follow all safety precautions when handling weapons. Wear appropriate hunting gear to make sure you’re visible to other hunters. Don’t goof around with your weapon; treat it with the seriousness it deserves.
Accidents happen, and even if you’re careful, you could still accidentally injure yourself due to no one’s fault by your own. Stay alert, observe your surroundings, handle your weapon with care, and you should be able to avoid injury.
Who’s Responsible? The Property Owner(s)
On the other hand, sometimes you can take every precaution and still get injured due to someone else’s negligence.
If you’re on someone else’s property for hunting, the property owner has a responsibility for maintaining a safe environment — within reason. Nature is full of naturally-occurring hazards like tall tree roots or wet, slippery leaves. Is the property owner responsible for nature not being 100-percent safe?
The key to a negligence claim is knowledge. If the property owner knew about or should have known about a hazard, then you may be able to hold them responsible for your injury.
It’s also vital that the hazard in question directly caused your injury. If, for example, you were goofing around with your weapon and tripped over a tree root, it’d be hard to argue that the tree root directly caused your injury.
It also depends on who owns the property. If you’re on private property with the owner’s permission, then the owner has a responsibility to make sure their property is safe. If you’re on government property, the government still has a responsibility for your safety, but due to Indiana’s laws around government negligence, it’s highly difficult to hold the government liable for a personal injury.
Permission also matters. If you’re on private property without permission, you’re trespassing. There are still some scenarios in which you could hold the property owner responsible for your injury while trespassing, but they’re highly specific. Generally, if you’re trespassing, you’re taking your safety into your own hands.
Who’s Responsible? Another Hunter
Besides a slip and fall accident or a self-inflicted wound, a hunter may be injured at the hands of another hunter. Again, negligence is still key. Accidents happen, but if they could have been avoided with proper care, then you may have a personal injury claim.
For example, let’s say a hunter was goofing around and shooting randomly just for “fun.” That kind of behavior is clearly negligent and may injure someone. An Evansville injury attorney can help determine whether negligence played a role in your injury.
Help from an Evansville Personal Injury Attorney
This hunting season, take every precaution to ensure the safety of you and other hunters. However, even the most cautious hunter can be injured due to no fault of their own. If you’ve been injured while hunting, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call our experienced Evansville personal injury lawyers or contact us online for a free conversation about your case.