Isa roommate liable to another roommate if they accidently caused a personal injury?

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Isa roommate liable to another roommate if they accidently caused a personal injury?

My son was burned by a stove fire unintentionally set by a dormmate causing severe burns to his hand when he put out the fire. Is the roommate liable? There has been surgery involved and several doctor visits, as well as missed work and lots of pain and suffering, plus travel expenses.

Asked on December 13, 2010 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Being roommates has no effect on liability. The issue is whether the other person was at fault. Whether he was at fault will depend on whether he (the roommate) was negligent, or unreasonably careless. If he was negligent--e.g. smoking in bed, using a candle or heater too close to drapes, etc.--he may be liable and your son may be able to sue for medical cost, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the roommate did nothing wrong--and sometimes accidents happen without it being anyone's fault (for example he happened to trip and fall against table or stove without being careless in tripping), knocking over a candle or hot oil), then there would be no fault and no liability. You son and you should discuss the matter with a personal injury attorney, to see if you have a case and what it might be worth.


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