Can my girlfriend sue for medical bill expenses that she incurredfor injuries she incurred while babysitting?

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Can my girlfriend sue for medical bill expenses that she incurredfor injuries she incurred while babysitting?

My girlfriend babysat a child for 3 months, Monday through Friday, for 2 hours a night. The parents bought the child a new skateboard for him to play with. Because the child had poor balance, my girlfriend was holding the child’s hands as he road the skateboard. The child started to wobble and fell onto my girlfriends knee, fracturing her femur. She has had significant out-of-pocket medical expenses and is required to go to rehabilitation 3 times a week. Is she able to take the parents to small claims court to recoupe the medical and rehab costs?

Asked on July 25, 2011 California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The child's parents would be liable for your girlfriend's injury because it occurred on their property.  It would NOT be advisable to go to Small Claims Court because the jurisdiction (amount of recovery ) might not be sufficient to compensate for the injury.

When she completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, she should obtain her medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Her personal injury claim consisting of the medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss should be filed with the parents' insurance carrier (homeowner's insurance).  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your girlfriend's injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If she is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, she can reject those offers and file a lawsuit against the parents for negligence.   In CA, there is a two year statute of limitations in personal injury cases.  If the case is not settled with the insurance carrier, the lawsuit for negligence against the parents must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your girlfriend will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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