Liability for my son's broken arm playing volleyball at a friend's house?
My son was invited to a party at a friend's house. At this house, the parents had set up a volleyball court on grass. My son and another girl collided playing volleyball. The girl fell on my son's arm and broke two bones. The injury happened on a Friday night, so we had no choice but to go to the ER, which was a huge bill.
To top it off, we went to the orthopedic surgeon the following Tuesday to have him check the set, and low and behold it still had a bow in it. We had to schedule my son at an outpatient surgery center where an anesthesiologist put him to sleep so the surgeon could manipulate the arm back into place, and now he has a cast.
I know the bills are going to start rolling in. My question is, can we ask the property owner if he has insurance for such issues when people get hurt on his property? Is he actually liable, or is the girl's parents liable? What can I do here? We live in the state of Texas. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Liability for my son's broken arm playing volleyball at a friend's house?":
You can certainly ask the homeowner if he or she carries homeowners insurance. If so, your son's injuries and related medical bills should be covered up to the limits of the homeowners insurance policy.
To be covered for minor injuries under a homeowners insurance policy does not require an injured person to prove negligence up to a certain amount, typically $1,000. Under the MedPay option, the coverage will be automatic. For more serious injuries, you will have to prove negligence.
If the homeowner refuses to give you their homeowners insurance information, you can consider filing a lawsuit. The problem with a lawsuit is proving the homeowner was negligent. From the facts you present there doesn't seem to be any proof of negligence. As a result, a lawsuit will likely not succeed.
The next issue is whether or not the girl's parents are responsible for their daughter's actions in causing your son's injuries. They are probably not. When it comes to playing games, volleyball is one in which players jump, fall, and run. Unfortunately, injuries happen during sports events; even sports events involving children.
To be legally responsible, the child would have had to purposely caused your son's injuries. There is no evidence of that. Learn more about the concept of negligence in personal injury claims here and here.
The law refers to participants in sports events as having "assumed the risk" of playing. As a parent, you should know that in volleyball there is a risk of injury. The players' eyes are on the ball as it moves back and forth across the net. The players instinctively move to the ball. As a result, players sometimes collide with one another. That's just part of the game.
In other words, as a parent you "assumed the risk" your child would be injured while playing the game. Unfortunately, he was.
Chapter 93 of the Texas Code address Assumption of the Risk, and the defenses a person might have to overcome assumption of the risk. Unfortunately, it appears the law will not apply to your set of facts.
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,
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