What to do if my child was injured during horseplay?

My 18 year old child was injured (broken bone) when a group of kids were fooling around on a dock, with some kids pushing others into the water. My daughter was pushed into an area where the water was only 1 ft deep. I can’t consider this an accident because the individual who pushed her should have known that the water was very shallow. My daughter did not push anyone into the water. I expect that my health insurance will pay for most of the expenses but not all. In addition, she will be unable to work at her summer job until the cast is removed.

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the injury was inflicted deliberately (intentionally) or negligently (unreasonably carelessly), your daughter may be able to sue the person who injured her or (if that person is a minor) her parent. Assuming it was not deliberate, the issue will be 1) was pushing her into the shallows unreasonably careless under the circumstances; and 2) was your daughter also careless or at fault in engaging in the horseplay, and/or did she "assume the risk" of injury by engaging in horseplay near the water--since the injured person's own carelessness or assumption of the risk can reduce or even eliminate what she could recover in a lawsuit. Your daughter should speak with a personal injury attorney in detail, to see if she has a valid lawsuit; if so, she could potentially recover unreimbursed or uncovered medical expenes and lost wages.

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