Visitor Question

Chipped Tooth From Shooting Air Guns on Playground…

Submitted By: Kris (Florida)

There was a group of boys approximately 12 years old playing at the park (all with each of their parents’ permission). A 17 year old was supervising at the time of the alleged incident. The boys put on protective eye wear and would hide in the park and then shoot at each other with plastic pellets from air soft guns.

One boy claims my son shot his mouth by accident and chipped his tooth. Is my son liable for the other boy’s chipped tooth? Thank you so much!

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kris,

Probably not. There are though several factors which support this supposition…

The first is the parents’ permission to allow their sons to play at the park while shooting guns with plastic projectiles.

The second must be the parents’ awareness of the necessity for their sons to wear protective eye gear. That understanding alone connotes that the parents knew the guns and plastic projectiles had the capacity to be dangerous and injury causing.

There is a legal term which is referred to as “Assumption of Risk”. Some examples of assumption of risk are organized football games, soccer games, and the like. When players take the field they know there exists the possibility they may be injured. With that knowledge they play anyway. They know sometimes they may be injured. In football it might be a torn ACL or concussion. In soccer it might be a broken leg.

When the participants in these games are injured they cannot turn around and sue the other players for their injuries. That’s because they assumed the risk of injury going in.

In the case of the boy with the chipped tooth, because he was a minor at the time of the incident he could not have assumed the risk. Instead, that risk was imputed to his parents.

Under the facts you present you should not be liable fore the other boy’s chipped tooth.

If his parents were worried about the possibility of their son being injured – and there is every reason to believe the possibility existed that exposed areas of the boy’s body were vulnerable to injury – then they shouldn’t have let him play. Instead they could have let him participate in some other less “dangerous” games like “hide and seek”.

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

Best of luck,

Published: February 24, 2012

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