Attacked on the bleachers...

by Michelle
(Henderson, Kentucky)

A girl at school punched and pulled my daughter's hair from behind. In the process of this, my daughter fell into the bleachers and injured her right shoulder and broke her Iphone 5S.

Is the parent of the attacker responsible for my daughter's medical bills and the money I paid for repairing my daughter's phone? How do I pursue this case? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Attacked on the bleachers...":

Michelle (Henderson, Kentucky):

In many cases, parents are legally responsible for the acts and omissions of their minor children, up to a certain age. This "vicarious liability" includes property damage and personal injuries caused by minor children to third parties.

From the facts you present, the young girl's parents should be liable for the repair or replacement of your daughter’s cell phone and for her additional damages. Here's a more in-depth look at everything you can claim for damages.

While parents may have vicarious liability for the acts or omissions of their children resulting in property damage or personal injuries to third parties, parents of the injured third party (child) are not entitled to vicarious pain and suffering.

There is an exception to vicarious liability. In the event it can be shown the girl who struck your daughter was acting in self-defense, your daughter would not be entitled to compensation for her damages.

To receive compensation for your daughter's property damage and medical treatment, and remaining damages, speak with the child’s parents. Tell them you believe it is only fair they compensate you.

They may do so with their own funds, or submit the claim to their homeowners insurance company. Depending on the type of homeowner's insurance carried at the time of the incident, the parents' insurance may cover the damages sustained by your daughter.

In the event the child’s parents refuse to cooperate, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit against them. In Kentucky Small Claims Courts, there is a maximum jurisdiction of $2,500.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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