Parents file premises liability suit in son's near-fatal shooting

The parents of a teenage boy who was accidentally shot and his leg and forced to undergo a leg amputation at a Pittsburgh hospital have filed a premises liability lawsuit against the man who fired the shot. The man was a convicted felon and forbidden by law to be operating a firearm, and has been criminally charged for doing so. However, the parents are also seeking civil damages, arguing that the man's negligent and illegal use of the gun caused their son's debilitating injuries.

According to the premises liability lawsuit, the near-fatal gunshot took place in November 2011 when the boy and his father went on a camping trip with the man that fired the shot and other friends and family members. After sunset on November 25, the man asked the father and son if they would like to go on a four-wheeler ride on the premises of the hunting camp. The father and son agreed, and the group took off on at least two four-wheelers.

At some point, the group stopped their vehicles and began to walk on foot, with the man carrying a rifle. It was then that the gun accidentally went off, firing a bullet into the boy's leg and severing his femoral artery.

Because the group was in a remote area, there was no way to call for medical attention, and the father was forced to drive his bleeding son to a nearby hospital, from which he was airlifted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. By that time, the damage to the boy's leg was so severe that it had to be amputated below the knee in order to save his life.

In June, the man pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced soon.

In their lawsuit, the parents of the injured boy make claims of negligence, premises liability, negligent entrustment of a firearm, negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of child consortium.

Source: West Virginia Record, "Suit filed over high school football player shot in leg," Lawrence Smith, Nov. 19, 2012

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