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Palmer Law Group, Topeka KS Injury Lawyers Palmer Law Group, Topeka

Kansas Firearm Injuries Lawyer

Topeka Kansas Injury Lawyers


    If you’ve been injured by an irresponsible gun owner, you may need to consult with a Kansas firearm injuries lawyer.

    In the United States, the right to own and use firearms is a key element of our personal liberty. However, with the privilege of gun ownership comes great responsibility. When this privilege is misused, serious injuries and fatalities frequently result.

    In this post, we break down everything you’ll need to understand about firearm injury claims in Kansas.

    How a Kansas Firearm Injury Lawyer Can Help You

    At the Palmer Law Group, we put over six decades of combined legal experience to work for every client who comes through our doors. As you can see from our case results, we know how to deliver for people when it matters most.

    However, we’re about more than just big settlements. If you visit our testimonials page, you’ll see our past clients heap praise on our professionalism, our attention to detail, and our compassionate approach to difficult cases.

    We offer free initial case reviews, so there’s no financial risk for you in coming to tell us your story.

    Negligence vs. Intention

    Not every firearm injury claim relates to a deliberate shooting. According to data from the Pew Research Center, there were 549 accidental gun deaths in the United States in 2021. Just because the at-fault party in your case didn’t intend to shoot you, that doesn’t mean you can’t file a lawsuit against them; if someone’s negligence results in your suffering an injury, they should be liable to compensate you.

    However, there are important differences between cases involving negligence and those involving intentional actions. When it comes to deliberate shootings, you must prove that the defendant . . .

    • Acted intentionally: This doesn’t necessarily mean that they intended to harm you, but rather that they intended the act that resulted in the harm. For instance, if someone injured you by firing a gun with the intention of scaring you, rather than actually shooting you, they might still be found liable for an intentional act.
    • Made harmful or offensive contact: You must suffer some form of real, observable injury from the shooting incident.
    • Caused your injuries: The causation requirement can be more complex than it seems. You must be able to prove that the shooting was the direct cause of the harm you suffered. If there was another factor that may have potentially given rise to your symptoms (such as a pre-existing injury), the defendant may try to use this to evade liability.

    In cases involving negligence, the second and third requirements are essentially the same. However, instead of proving that an intentional act took place, you will have to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, and that they breached that duty. Gun owners owe a general duty to other members of society to use their weapons responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws. Whether an accidental shooting incident amounts to a breach of this duty will depend on the specifics of the case at hand.

    Damages in Firearm Injury Cases

    In any personal injury lawsuit, there are three broad types of damages to which plaintiffs may be entitled: economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.

    Economic Damages

    Also known as special damages, economic damages provide compensation for all losses with a definite financial value. This value should be readily obvious from invoices, receipts, pay slips, or other such documentation. Examples of economic damages include:

    • Medical expenses, including for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation
    • Lost wages from time spent out of work
    • Loss of future earning capacity
    • Incidental costs related to medical care, such as for transportation
    • Property damage.

    Noneconomic Damages

    Noneconomic damages (also known as general damages) provide compensation for non-financial harm that plaintiffs suffer due to firearm injuries, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement. It’s difficult to assign a fair value to losses like these, so awards tend to vary considerably from one case to the next.

    Punitive Damages

    Unlike economic and noneconomic damages, punitive damages are not designed to cover the losses of plaintiffs, but to punish defendants. For this reason, they’re not available in every case; courts only award them in cases involving particularly egregious behavior by defendants.

    If the defendant in your firearm injury case shot you with the intention of causing serious harm, this may satisfy the required standard.

    Defense Strategies

    In cases involving firearm injuries, there are several strategies defense attorneys can employ to try to reduce liability or avoid paying damages altogether. These include:

    • Comparative or contributory negligence: This defense asserts that your own negligence contributed to your injuries. Kansas follows a modified comparative negligence rule for personal injury cases, per KS Stat § 60-258a. So, if you’re 51% or more at fault for your injuries, you will not be entitled to compensation; if your degree of fault is less than 51%, you will be entitled to compensation, but it will be reduced in proportion with your degree of fault. So, if a court rules that your negligence was 20% of the cause of your accident, your compensation entitlements will be capped at 80% of the calculated value of your losses.
    • Assumption of risk: The defendant may argue that you knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk of the injury you suffered. For example, if you were injured while participating in a recreational shooting activity, the defendant might argue that you were aware of the inherent risks.
    • Misidentification: The defendant might challenge the assertion that they were the one who caused the injury. This is a common issue in cases where the actual shooter is unknown or there were multiple potential causes of your injury.
    • Self-defense or defense of others: If the defendant claims they acted in self-defense or defense of someone else, they might argue that their use of the firearm was justified.

    Firearm Accidents and Product Liability Claims

    Defendants in firearm injury lawsuits aren’t always shooters. If you had a gun-related accident due to some defect in the design or manufacture of the weapon, you may be entitled to compensation from the individual or entity who made the gun or sold it to you. The claim you’ll need to file in a case like this is called a product liability lawsuit.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Do I need a lawyer to file a firearm injury claim?

    While you don’t need an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit, you realistically stand a much better chance of getting the outcome you want if you enlist expert legal help. Even seemingly simple cases will pose too many complications for you to safely navigate alone, unless you have a background in firearm injury law.

    How long do I have to file a claim after the injury?

    The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Kansas dictates that you have two years from the date of a shooting incident to file a lawsuit. If you allow this deadline to pass, you will generally lose your right to seek compensation through the court system, so it’s vital that you start pursuing legal action quickly after you sustain a shooting injury.

    What if the shooter didn’t have a license or was carrying illegally?

    Kansas law requires all gun owners to hold a license bearing their personal details. The application for these licenses requires gun owners to submit their photo and fingerprints, and submit to a background check. If the person who injured you did not have a license, it may be more difficult to positively identify them for the purposes of your lawsuit. However, if you can clearly show they were at fault for what happened, it should be easier to establish negligence on their part if they were carrying a firearm illegally.

    Hire a Kansas Firearm Injury Attorney Who Will Fight for Your Rights

    If you’ve been the victim of carelessness or intentional assault involving a firearm, you deserve compensation and a fair chance to rebuild your life. As you and your family walk this challenging path, remember that help is available.

    Contact the Palmer Law Group today to schedule a free case review. You can reach us via our online form or over the phone at (785) 233-1836.

    Attorney LJ Leatherman

    LJ Leatherman passionately believes in fair and dedicated representation for individuals who have been affected by automobile negligence, electrical injuries, firearm litigation, wrongful death, and third-party claims against insurance companies and all other areas of personal injury litigation. [Read More]