Visitor Question

Assaulted at Elementary School Playground…

Submitted By: Brad (Knoxville, TN, United States)

On a Sunday in Knoxville, Tennessee, my wife and I took our 4 children to their elementary school community park to play. With four courts there, there was one open on the other end from where about fifteen black adults and teens were playing. We started shooting hoops and about fifteen minutes went by, and one asked if they could play a quick game of full court, then another one said before we could answer to go ahead and let us keep playing.

Some of them didn’t like that so they started cussing at us and shoving, so I decided to gather the kids and leave, and as soon as I turned to call the kids, one struck me in the side of the head. I fell down and from eyewitness reports, about twelve proceeded to to punch and kick me. I have pictures, a police report, and the hospital records indicating bruised ribs, an injured knee, contusions, and five broken and chipped teeth.

My daughter and son are diagnosed with Aspergers and Austism, and neither her nor my son want to go back to that school for fear it will happen to them next. Our older son goes to the nearby middle school and the younger attackers threatened him when they saw him in school on Monday.

I start a new job on Tuesday. I cannot afford to miss work and I have to be somewhat presentable. My wife and children do not want to live in this neighborhood for one more month, in her words. It should never have happened and especially in front of my children who are extra impressionable given their conditions. Who is responsible and what can I do? Thanks for any information you can give.

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.


Dear Brad,

Certainly the person or persons who assaulted you are liable for your injuries. They are probably not liable for any trauma suffered by your wife or children. Only under extreme circumstances does the law allow compensation as a result of vicarious injury.

You made reference to the existence of a police report. Presuming the police responded to a fight in progress or similar call, they probably arrested those who assaulted you.

Contact the District Attorney’s Office. Tell them you were assaulted and want the prosecutor who will be assigned to the case to notify you when the case comes up for a hearing.

When you are notified tell the prosecutor if she is going to give those who assaulted you probation, that as part of their probation they be ordered to pay your hospital bills. The prosecutor can’t ask the judge to order more than that. The court can order reimbursement of hospital bills, but unfortunately cannot order additional amounts for your pain and suffering.

If the court orders the defendants to pay restitution and any of them fail to pay, they can have their probation revoked and be immediately remanded to jail. You can also sue the men personally. Before you do it would be wise to see if they have any assets which would make the filing of a lawsuit worthwhile.

Finally, contact the owners of the property upon which you were assaulted. Many times property owners of parks, and other areas where people are invited to play, have substantial insurance policies which cover just this sort of event. Of all the options this would be the best bet.

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: April 16, 2012

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