Can You Sue For Premises Liability If You Get Injured While Hunting?
It is turkey hunting season in South Carolina, and hunting enthusiasts from around the country are flocking to South Carolina, where the scent of the crisp, morning air has temporarily displaced the thoughts of smoked turkey, turkey gumbo, and turkey jerky that have been filling their minds and their YouTube video suggestions for the past few weeks. Of course, a heavily wooded area where everyone is shooting and everyone is trying not to be seen is prime territory for accidental shootings. Earlier this month, Michael Calvin Keeler, Jr. died of a gunshot wound he sustained while turkey hunting in Laurens County. He was 34 years old. In many situations, people who get injured in accidents on private or public property have the right to file personal injury lawsuits, and the surviving family members of people killed in accidents can file wrongful death lawsuits. Premises liability laws are more complicated, however, when it comes to accidents that arise from recreational use of public land. To find out more about your rights after getting injured in a hunting accident, contact a Columbia premises liability lawyer.
The Recreational Use Statute and South Carolina Premises Liability Laws
Premises liability laws give you the right to sue the owner of property if you get injured in a preventable accident on the property. The protections are the strongest for business invitees, that is, customers of a business, but premises liability law also protects non-paying guests of social gatherings at private residences, as well as children who enter others’ property in pursuit of an “attractive nuisance” such as a swimming pool.
South Carolina’s Recreational Use Statute protects the owners of property typically used by non-paying visitors for recreational purposes, by making them exempt from some of the liability that premises liability laws impose on ordinary business owners.
Hunting is one of the recreational activities specifically mentioned in the Recreational Use Statute. Others include camping, nature study, swimming, summer and winter sports, hiking, and boating. The deciding factor in whether the injured plaintiff counts as a business invitee, and therefore is covered under premises liability laws, is not whether the land belongs to a private and public entity. Rather, the deciding factor is whether the plaintiff paid to use the land. Therefore, if you paid for a boat ride at a state park, and you get injured in an accident during the boat ride, you can sue for premises liability. If a private landowner allows hunters to hunt on his land without paying, and a hunter gets injured in an accident while doing so, the fact that the hunter was not a paying customer weighs in favor of the landowner and against the hunter.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you suffered serious injuries in a hunting accident on private property. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.