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Tragic hunting accident may lead to wrongful death claim

A final investigative report may not be available for weeks, but Wisconsin authorities believe that a hunting related shooting that left one man dead was a tragic accident. The accident was investigated by three Douglas County conservation officers who recreated the shooting in order to determine whether it was an accident. Even though the shooting may have been an accident, it does not preclude the family of the victim from filing a wrongful death claim.

Two men were hunting in Superior, Wisconsin at County Road W and Barnes Road. The victim was wearing the required blaze orange clothing on his body, but did not have on a hat that was at least 50 percent blaze orange. Authorities are unsure as to whether this fact would have made a difference.

The victim's hunting companion had attempted to shoot a deer when he missed. The bullet struck his friend in the head. The hunter died at the scene. Authorities are using this tragic accident as a way to remind hunters to be absolutely sure what they are aiming at, and what may be behind their target, before taking their shot. The possibility of losing the shot is less important than making sure on one is injured or killed by accident.

The family of the victim has the right to file a wrongful death claim against the hunter that fired the shot. If they are able to prove that the shooter was negligent and that he caused the death of his hunting companion, they may recover the costs they have incurred as a result of his death. There is also the possibility that the court may award the family additional damages allowable under our state laws if the court determines it is warranted. Filing a lawsuit won't change the fact that the hunter's two young children will grow up without their father, but a successful result may help the family recover monies they have already had to expend and provide for the children he leaves behind.

Source: Duluth News Tribune, "Hunter shot and killed by companion," Nov. 21, 2012

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