What is my liability if a child is hurt while playing on my property?

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What is my liability if a child is hurt while playing on my property?

I have land and all the kids come to my house to play Airsoft. Of course eye protection is required and I supply plenty of googles for all the kids. One of the kids(not mine) found a BB gun and thought it was a good idea to use it. He shot another kid in the eye. The eye injury has healed and there were medical bills. The kid that got shot owns real guns, bows, airsoft, etc etc. His parents allowed him down to play. The parents stated over and over that it was an accident and that he was OK. My kids went to his house everyday to check on him. Then I get an uncertified letter from an attorney wanting my insurance information. I did not consent to the BB gun; his parents gave him permission to be there. Am I liable?

Asked on March 4, 2013 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may have some liability and you cannot assume it will be small.  Eye injuries in children can have very long-term consequences.

You need to report this to your insurance company if you have not done this already.  Failure to report the incident could put your coverage in jeopardy.

I do not know whether your insurance policy will cover this event.  A lawyer would have to read the policy to make an assessment of this.  Even then, there may be a question about it.  Your insurance company will be looking for a way NOT to pay and you cannot assume they will take care of all your interests.  Your insurance company will do only what the policy requires them to do.

My recommendation is that you consult your own lawyer immediately to review the specifics of the entire situation, including your insurance coverage.  Do not respond to the letter without legal counsel.  Do not talk with the other child's parents or anyone else about this.  As they say on TV, "anything you say can be used against you."

This matter can be handled in a way that benefits everyone, but it must be handled correctly.  Do not attempt to do this by yourself.  Seek legal counsel to advise you and do not rely solely on your insurance company.


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