Hunting is a time-honored tradition in New Hampshire and Vermont, and most hunters put safety at the forefront. But, accidents do happen and when they do they can be very serious or fatal. Hunting accidents can result in injuries to both hunters and non-hunters. Hunter negligence is typically involved in hunting accidents, whether it is something like lack of training or throwing alcohol into the mix. But, defective products can also cause hunting accidents, and in rare cases negligent property owners are to blame.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a hunting accident, call the Cole Law Office at 800-909-LAWS (5297) or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your personal injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
Hunters can be held liable for negligent discharge or a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow and bolt. Negligent discharge happens in many ways:
- Unintentional firing due to improper handling or transport
- Missing the target animal
- Mistaking a person for an animal
Hunters can also be charged criminally for negligent discharge causing injury or death. There is a much higher standard of proof required for criminal conviction than for civil liability. Even if there are no criminal charges, or if the hunter is charged but not convicted, you may still be able to win a civil suit against the hunter.
New Hampshire and Vermont both encourage landowners to allow hunting on their property. Since many have been reluctant to do so due to liability concerns, both states have enacted laws to shield landowners from liability for accidents under most circumstances, as long as they do not charge hunters a fee to use their land.
Landowners can be held liable under the following circumstances:
- If they charged a fee for recreational use of the land
- Intentionally causing injury
- Malicious failure to warn about a known hazard
In New Hampshire, landowners can be held liable if hunters who have permission to use the land injure other people on the property to whom the landowner does have a duty to provide a safe environment or warn of hazards.
Serious and fatal hunting accidents are sometimes caused by defective products, including defective weapons and other equipment such as tree stands.
New Hampshire law shields gunmakers and sellers from liability for the bad behavior of people using their firearms, but not from liability for guns that malfunction when handled properly. Guns and bows can have defects that cause them to malfunction, causing serious injuries.
Tree stand accidents are shockingly common. While they are often due to user error, they can also be caused by product defects, including inadequate assembly directions or shoddy materials.