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Ask the Attorneys: BB Gun Accident

/ Ask the Attorneys, Premises Liability /

Q: A few months ago my 18 year old son was at a friend’s house and he and his friend were shooting a BB gun in their backyard. While my son was changing a target, his friend accidentally discharged the gun and my son was struck in the eye with a BB. He has had two surgeries, but now looks like he is going to be blind in one eye. Does he have the right to be compensated for this?

A: He probably does. However, a critical issue will be whether the friend’s parents have a homeowner’s insurance policy for the home where the accident happened. In addition to providing coverage for fire losses, a person is entitled to look to their homeowner’s policy if their negligence or the negligence of a family member causes an injury.

Although motor vehicle negligence is typically excluded from coverage in homeowner’s policies, the accidental discharge of a firearm will usually be considered a “covered event” and could be considered a catastrophic injury. A renter’s policy would provide coverage similar to a homeowner’s policy. If your son has been blinded in one eye, he is entitled to be compensated for how that disability will affect him over the course of his entire life.

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