Accidental gun show shooting should remind victims of their rights

Unfortunately, many people overlook the threat of personal injuries from preventable accidents. A recent incident at a Pennsylvania gun show illustrated this risk, and should remind victims to protect their legal rights after an injury.

Woman shot during demonstration

In June, a vendor at a gun show in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania was demonstrating a concealed-carry wallet holster when the gun discharged. A woman watching the demonstration was shot in the leg. Fortunately, the woman was not seriously injured. The bullet did not strike any arteries or bones, and the woman was released from the hospital shortly after treatment.

The gun show had a policy against loaded weapons, and staff checked weapons at the entrance to ensure compliance. The vendor thought the gun was empty when he performed the demonstration. The vendor also speculated that someone else might have loaded the gun while the gun was left on display.

After the accident, police stated that the vendor's conduct was negligent, and that the vendor could face charges of reckless endangerment. If the woman's injury had been more severe, she might have been able to seek compensation based on the vendor's negligence.

Compensation for accidental injuries

When an injury results from the negligence of another person the victim may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. To establish that the other person was negligent, the victim must establish the following four things:

  • The other party owed a duty of care to the victim.
  • The other party failed to show reasonable care in performing the duty.
  • The actions of the other party were directly responsible for the injury.
  • The other party could have reasonably expected that his or her actions would lead to harm.

In cases of accidental injury, proving the final point can be difficult. For instance, during the accidental shooting, the vendor did not know the gun was loaded, so he would not have reasonably expected the demonstration to cause harm. At the same time, though, the vendor failed to check whether the gun was loaded before starting the demonstration. This decision put others at risk, and as a firearms vendor, the vendor should have been aware of the potential danger.

Although the victim of the shooting did not express an interest in pursuing a lawsuit, her experience should remind other Pennsylvanians that injury victims have legal rights. Anyone who has been seriously injured because of another person's negligence should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.