What should we do if our daughter went to a friend’s house to watch fireworks but was injured while there?

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What should we do if our daughter went to a friend’s house to watch fireworks but was injured while there?

There were 2 sets of parents were present; 1 was the homeowner of the yard our daughter was standing in. A firework was lit but it tipped over and shot my daughter in the foot. Although the adults knew what happened, my daughter walked back to our house, alone. We rushed her to the ER, where she was diagnosed with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on the top of her foot and toes. Should we speak with the homeowners, to file on their homeowners policy for the current/possible future medical bills, or do we need to find an attorney? We do not know the homeowners but when I spoke to them prior to the ER visit,all of the adults were very flippant and said it was an accident.

Asked on July 5, 2014 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can certainly ask the homeowers for compesation, but if they can refuse to pay voluntarily or to put in a claim on their insurance (it is their insurance, not yours; you cannot file a claim against it, only they can), your only option is to sue. It is not clear that a lawsuit would be worthwhile, however:

1) They would only be liable if they were negligent, or unreasonably careless; an accident with no carelessness attached generally does not result in liability.

2) There are known risks to watching fireworks; if your daughter was a minor and you, her parents/legal guaradians, knew there would be fireworks, your agreement to let her attend may mean that you "assumed" or accepted those natural risks, which would reduce (or possibly eliminate) whatever you might otherwise get.

3) In a case where is no malice or intentional bad act, you can only recover an amount of money commensurate with the extent of out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical bills and the extent of long-term disability or impairment. For burns to the top of one foot, unless there will be some permanent disability, it's possible that you could not recover enough money to make the cost of a lawsuit worthwhile.


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