My daughter tripped on her friends cello which was placed in a place where it shouldn’t have been. I agreed to pay half because the other child was also being careless about where it was placed. They say I owe all the money even though it was accident. Wh

They say even though it was an accident we are still 100 liable. I think there’s
some responsibility on both parts.

Asked on June 9, 2016 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't indicate your liability for what? For the cost to repair the cello? For your daughter's medical costs? Either way, as a general matter, there is no hard and fast anwer, because liability in a case like this depends on negligence, or carelessness, and is determined case by case. Factors will include:
what you mean by "place it shouldn't have been"--was it in front of a doorway or stairs or other place where it couldn't easily be gotten around, or the middle of a room, where it could be avoided
how visible it was
the age of the kids--different standards of care or caution are applied to 15 year olds vs. 7 year olds, for example
what else was going on at the time--was either girl horsing around, for example
In short, you need to weigh all the circumstances, to see who was negligent, or unreasonably careless, under the circumstances. If one was negligent but not the other, that one should bear the costs; if both were negligent, splitting costs is appropriate.
Bear in mind that if this somehow become "personal" or emotional and escalates and you can't work it out, you could end up being sued, even if only in small claims court. It may be worth paying more than think is quite fair to avoid that.


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