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You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out? Consumer Personal Injury From Product Defects In Guns

By Alpert Schreyer on January 14, 2016

gun for salePersonal injury from guns with a product defect: Is it common?

The age old classic, A Christmas Story, is about a boy, Ralphie, wanting a BB Gun for Christmas.  He is only 9 and his mom is against it because according to her (and his teacher, and Santa), BB guns are dangerous and he could shoot his eye out. When Christmas morning arrives, Ralphie opens his final gift and finds the precious Red Rider BB Gun. Ralphie goes into the backyard to test his new BB gun out, only to end up on the ground after a strong recoil from pulling the trigger. Now, this result can be attributed to lack of experience, however, in all actuality, the BB gun might have been defective. Maybe not in the movie, but for those who are given BB guns or real guns as gifts, personal injury from guns can be a direct result of a product defect.

There are 3 important gun safety rules that all gun enthusiasts and first timers come to know and love (or, follow) based on NRA guidelines:

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
  • ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use

These rules are put in place to prevent injury, however, even the rules, when followed, can lead to an injury if the product is defective.

Product defect suits involving guns are not uncommon

From a faulty safety to a loose trigger, anything is possible when it comes to guns and how they are made and the potential dangers that they impose. Take for instance, the case of Maroney v. Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc. The plaintiff’s gun, a 9mm Taurus, fell to the floor in his garage. The gun was in a holster with the safety in the “on” position, but when it hit the ground, it went off, severely injuring him. Ultimately, the jury awarded a verdict of $1,250,000. To break it down further, $750,000 alone was allotted for punitive damages.

Know your worth, and your options

Just what does it take to bring a products liability suit? In any given situation, the personal injury case due to products liability can be classified into certain categories:

  • Manufacturing defect;
  • Design defect; or
  • Failure to warn.

In the Maroney case, he sued for violation of state product liability law and for failure to warn.

It is not an easy feat to win a personal injury case based on products liability, as the plaintiff must show a multitude of things; for example, the plaintiff must show they were using the product when they were injured, in a way it was meant to be used and that the defect contributed to the injury suffered.

The defense in the Maroney case argued that he is responsible for his own injuries because the gun was loaded. If the gun had not been loaded, when it went off there would have been no injuries.

Maroney’s lawyers countered with expert witnesses of their own, who performed a drop test to show that the gun fired due to an issue with the safety mechanism.

Let Us Help You

Don’t face the court system alone if you have been injured. Instead, contact the Law Offices of Alpert Schreyer, LLC for help with your personal injury claim.  Whether you have been injured while using a gun or have a personal injury due to a car accident, dog bite, or medical malpractice, our attorneys are here to discuss your options with a free case evaluation.

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