The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported today that a young man had been charged with a crime in the accidental hunting incident that I commented on yesterday. As a trial lawyer who handles both personal injury and criminal cases in Tennessee, I thought that the interplay between these two types of matters, might well illustrate what can happen a case such as this.
The Arrest Affidavit charges the hunter under:
39-13-103. Reckless endangerment. An) A man confers an offense who heedlessly participates in direct that spots or may put someone else in up and coming threat of death or real substantial damage. (b) The reckless peril is a Class A crime; be that as it may, heedless danger perpetrated with a dangerous weapon is a Class E lawful offense.
Reckless conduct is generally defined, in both the criminal and civil law contexts, as being a conscious disregard for the health, care or safety of others. You can see how intimately these issues are connected by reading the Tennessee Pattern Jury instruction of the law that would be given to the jury to guide their deliberations.
From this incident, you can see that a criminal charge if it results in a guilty plea, can have a parallel civil action attached to it. If the injured person files such a lawsuit, the criminally charged defendant may not have significant assets from which to recover on the civil lawsuit side. However, many Homeowner’s Insurance policies and some Renter’s Insurance policies may provide a source of not only pay to the injured party but also can require the insurance company to offer a defense attorney to the hunter when (and if) he or she is sued civilly. This is yet another case where a bit of prior thought can help to protect your most precious asset: your future.