Getting sued for minor cut?

by Joe
(Miami, FL)

A friend of mine was playing basketball at the public courts in town, and someone came across a golf ball and they started bouncing it in the air. My friend bounced it in the air and it accidentally hit another person on top of his head while he was playing a game of basketball.

It broke skin and there was a little blood but the person completely overreacted. They called an ambulance and went to the ER. There was no police report filed and the person who was "injured" didn't even need stitches.

My friend told the person that he would try to help as much as he could with the medical bills, but he is only 15 years old and doesn't have much money. My friend just told me he received a letter in the mail from a lawyer stating he should contact his insurance regarding a liability claim.

What can/should he do? He doesn't have insurance for something like this as he's only 15 years old. Also, the person was hardly injured and didn't need stitches, why does he have a lawyer? It doesn't seem right. Thank you for any information you can provide on how my friend can protect himself.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Getting sued for minor cut?":

Joe (Miami, FL):

From the facts you present, it appears the other boy was not seriously injured. He received a cut to his head and required only minor treatment at the Emergency Room.

Some attorneys send letters to persons who have been injured. In many cases attorneys have access to medical information regarding which person sought emergency room treatment or transportation by paramedics to the hospital. Just because you received a letter from an attorney does not mean an attorney is required.

In most cases, parents are legally responsible for the acts and omissions of their minor children when those acts or omissions result in injuries to others. The circumstances surrounding this injury would seem to qualify as one of those cases.

Contact your homeowner's insurance company. In many cases homeowners insurance covers injuries caused by family members to others even when the injuries occur away from the home.

Next, speak with the injured boy's parents. The injury was quite obviously not intended. If your homeowners insurance doesn't cover the boy's medical bills, ask them if that would agree to splitting the medical bills with you. If not, you may have to pay them.

The injured boy's parents have the right to pursue you for their son’s medical bills. Hopefully they won't decide to sue you. If they do, they will likely prevail.

If the matter can't be settled between you and the injured child’s parents and they decide to sue you, they may do sue in one of Florida’s Small Claims Courts. Small claims courts in Florida have jurisdiction up to $5,000.

Read more about small claims court here.

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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