If my son broke his ankle at his friend’s wet kitchen floor, should his parents help us pay for our son’s medical and surgical cost we are about to face?

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If my son broke his ankle at his friend’s wet kitchen floor, should his parents help us pay for our son’s medical and surgical cost we are about to face?

Asked on June 10, 2014 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The friend's parents are not automatically liable, or financially responsible. They may be liable if it would be considered to have been negligent, or unreasonably careless, for the floor to be wet. That depends on the circumstances; and another factor, also dependent on circumstances, is whether your son was careless, since his own negligence could undermine their financial responsibility. So, if, say, your son spilled on the floor, that's not their fault, and they would not be liable; if they just mopped the floor, but told your son, "don't go in there; the floor's wet" and he went in anyway, he would have been careless and they meanwhile would have been careful (they warned him) and so there  would not likely be liability. If on the other hand they just mopped or waxed the floor while guests (including children--your son) were over and did not warn anyone about that, that may be negligent and they might be liable.

You can ask them to contribute; if they will not, you'd have to sue them and prove in court that they were negligent and also, if they raise your son's negligence as a defense to offset their own fault, that your son was not.


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