$108,000 Gunshot Wound Settlement

Barnes Law Firm obtains a $108,000 settlement resulting from a gunshot wound at a shooting range set up on a friend’s private property.

The attorneys at Barnes Law negotiated a settlement with the shooter and homeowner that resulted from a gunshot wound on a private residence. In October 2019, the shooter shot at a steel target that the homeowner set up on his property. The shrapnel shell ricocheted off the target and struck our client in the neck. Fortunately, the shell went through the side of our client’s neck and missed hitting any arteries that resulted in our client’s physical injuries not being too severe; although he did require stitches to close the wound. As such, our client did not need much medical attention, as his pre-insurance adjusted medical bills were just under $8,000 and the insurance company’s lien was below $2,800. 

However, understandably, our client suffered serious and significant pain and suffering through the mental and psychological effects of experiencing a near-death experience considering that the shrapnel shell just missed a major artery by a millimeter or two that would have likely resulted in our client’s death. Our client’s everyday life, his demeanor, and his outlook on life completely changed because of this near-death experience. Also, he used to enjoy many activities such as practicing his religion, shooting, action movies, among numerous other activities that our client no longer cares for due to this incident. As such, we refused to settle his case for an amount that would only cover his medical bills, so we negotiated with the insurance company of the homeowner and the shooter to justly compensate our client for his significant emotional and psychological suffering, in addition to his medical bills. 

Shooter Liability

When negotiating with the shooter’s insurance company, we explained that the shooter was clearly reckless when he shot an AK style weapon at a steel weapon from a close distance that resulted in our client being struck in his neck with a shrapnel shell. To prove liability, we showed how the shooter was both negligent and negligent per se, by likely violating the criminal reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon statute and by likely committing aggravated assault; however, the shooter was not charged criminally for his recklessness. 

In short, the attorneys at Barnes Law established that the shooter recklessly engaged in conduct with a deadly weapon, by shooting an AK style rifle at a steel target from a short distance away and with other individuals in close proximity to him, that placed our client in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Moreover, we established that the shooter failed to take all reasonable precautions necessary to guard against accidents, including but not limited to failing to ensure a safe firing zone when using a deadly weapon and failing to maintain a safe distance away from the targets to avoid the serious risk of a ricochet injury. Consequently, the shooter’s insurance company admitted to 80% liability on behalf of the shooter.

Homeowner Liability 

We demonstrated to the homeowner’s insurance company that the homeowner created an extremely unjustified risk to the safety of the individuals on his property, including our client, and that he was, therefore, guilty of gross negligence. We explained that the lack of safety precautions when allowing individuals to shoot deadly weapons on his own private amateur shooting range on his property was clearly done with an utter unconcern and disregard for the safety of those on his property or was done with such a reckless disregard for the rights and safety of the individuals on his property, including our client, that a conscious indifference to consequences would be implied in law if we went to trial. Moreover, the very nature of the homeowner’s conduct, in dealing with a dangerous and lethal instrumentality, by shooting AK style rifles, in and of itself constituted as gross negligence. In response, the homeowner’s insurance company agreed to take responsibility for the remaining 20% of the fault for our client’s injuries because the homeowner was grossly negligent in setting up and maintaining an amateur private shooting range at his house. 

As a result, we were happy to reach a settlement that surpassed our client’s expectations and provides him with the compensation he deserves by settling our client’s case for $108,000.