Visitor Question

My niece was jumped in a New York City public high school…

Submitted By: Evelyn (New York City)

My 15 year old niece (honor student, never had issues in the school) was in gym class and scored in soccer. Then, in one side of the gym, a group of girls approached her and were upset that she won, so they jumped her. We have not taken her to the hospital yet but she has visible bruises.

The group of girls then went on social medial boasting about what they had done.

My sister will be pressing charges on all 6 girls who attacked her daughter.

I am her aunt and appalled that girls that age can do something so cruel.

Do we have a civil and/or criminal case against these girls? Do we need a lawyer to file? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Evelyn,

Fortunately, your daughter didn’t suffer more serious physical injuries. However, “jumpings” can be traumatic for a victim, especially a minor.

It is impossible to estimate or quantify the physical and psychological damage to your daughter resulting from the Jumping. Moreover, the purposeful dissemination of harmful information on social media likely only exacerbated the attack.

The State of New York has a statute relating to parental liability for the acts of their minor children. However, the statute only deals with parental liability for property damage caused by a minor. The statute reads in part…

“Liability imposed on parents when child willfully, maliciously, or unlawfully destroys property; liability imposed on parent when child, with intent to deprive an owner and/or custodian of property, or to appropriate the same to himself or herself or to a third person, knowingly enters or remains in a building and wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds property from the building in which the personal property is owned or maintained; liability imposed on parent when child falsely reports an incident or places a false bomb.” New York General Obligations Law Section 3-112

Absent language in the statute related to parental liability for physical attacks perpetrated by minors, you still have the right to pursue a civil claim against the parents of the children.

That claim can be for compensation for your daughter’s medical bills, out of pocket expenses, your lost wages (if you had to take off time from work to care for your daughter), for the psychological treatment your daughter may require, and for the pain and suffering she endured as a result of the vicious attack.

The next issue is the school’s liability for the attack. In most cases schools cannot be held liable for criminal acts perpetrated by their students. However, if it can be shown the school knew of the students’ propensity for violence or previous assaults against your daughter, then the school may have been negligent in failing to take appropriate action to discipline the students or entirely remove them from the school.

Speak with several attorneys in your area. Your daughter may have the basis of a viable injury claim against the school, the students’ parents, or both.

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: October 28, 2016

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