What are our rights if my son was pushed off a bunk bed by another child, causing him to shatter his elbow and have surgery?

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What are our rights if my son was pushed off a bunk bed by another child, causing him to shatter his elbow and have surgery?

The child initially admitted it to me and another adult and is now saying he didn’t do it. Would the child’s parents be liable or the individual whose house this happened in?

Asked on September 9, 2014 under Personal Injury, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The home owner would NOT be liable unless he or she was at fault (e.g. negligent or careless) in causing the injury in some way; a homeowner is not the insurer of his or her guests and is only liable to the extent he or she is at fault.

The child's parents may be  liable if the child either 1) deliberately pushed your son off the bunk bed, or 2) was unreasonably careless (as judged by the cognitive and maturity standards of children that age) in accidently pushing your son off. On the hand, if he did not mean to shove your child out of the bed, and if he was not acting unreasonably careless at the time (for example: the boys were just generally horsing around a little, the way boys often do), he--and therefore his parents--would not be liable. Again, liability depends on fault: unless a person is at fault through a deliberate wrongful act or unreasonable carelessness, there is generally no liability.


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