Boy threw an ice ball at my son and broke his jaw...

by Parent of little boy
(Rhode Island)

I went to pick my son up from school. He is in the first grade. It was a Friday before vacation. My son came out the school door. He asked if he could say goodbye to his friend, and I gave him five minutes (because we were leaving for a family trip). He dropped his book bag and off he went.

As he was running to his friend, a boy from the six grade (later I found out) threw an ice ball that hit my son in the face. I saw the whole incident. My son's face erupted like a volcano of red blood. The boy (sixth grader) saw that I witnessed the incident and began walking away.

I then grabbed my son in my arms, ran over to the boy and asked where his parents were. He said over there, pointing in the direction where his parent was sitting in the car, down a hill not watching her son. I ran to the lady sitting in the car saying her son just knocked my son's teeth out.

At that point, because of the blood I could not see the extent of damage to his face. The lady looked dazed and said nothing. I then ran to my vehicle and rushed off to the hospital. It was determined that his jaw was broken in two places and surgery was performed. His jaw is now wired shut for 3-6 weeks.

Do I have a case? Who is liable? What can I do to get compensation? My son's medical bills are now $120,000 and climbing. Thank you for any direction you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Boy threw an ice ball at my son and broke his jaw...":

Parent of little boy (Rhode Island):

In most cases, parents are liable for the negligent acts or omissions of their children, up to a certain age, which result in injuries to 3rd parties. In this case, the third party is your son. Often homeowners insurance covers injuries caused by household members, even when those injuries occur away from the home.

From the facts you present, the school didn't display any negligence. If they had, your son may have had a negligence claim against the school.

However, even though the school wasn't negligent, you may approach the school administration and ask if they will present the injury claim to their premises liability insurance company. It is always possible the school’s insurance company may agree to cover some, or all of your son’s medical bills. It doesn't hurt to ask.

In any event, the parents of the boy should be liable for your son’s injuries and resulting damages. This includes your son's medical and therapy bills, your out of pocket costs (for such items as your son’s medications, bandages, costs of travel to and from treatment, etc.), your lost wages if you had to miss work to care for your son, and for your son’s and pain and suffering.

Because of the seriousness of this incident you would be best served by having legal representation. You son’s medical bills alone have now exceeded $120,000. It is unlikely the boy’s parents will agree to pay such an amount in addition to your son‘s other damages set out above.

The parents of the boy may have stocks, bonds, and other assets which can be levied upon to pay for some, or all of your son’s damages. It is unlikely the parents of the boy will volunteer that information. An attorney, after filing a lawsuit, can subpoena that information pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum.

An experienced personal injury attorney will also likely have better success in convincing the school to turn the matter over to their insurance company for payment.

Gather copies of your son‘s medical bills and seek the advice of several injury attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. After visiting with several attorneys, you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim and the likelihood of success.

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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