Visitor Question

School Fight With Injuries Requiring ER Visit…

Submitted By: Donna (Big Spring, TX, USA)

My 13 year old daughter (Riley) and a girl that she had been friends with (Brittnee)had a disagreement. I told both girls they needed to talk to each other and not to other people about it.

The following day at school, Brittnee tried on several occasions to provoke Riley by talking about her to other girls when Riley was certain to hear the conversation.

While Riley was seated at her desk in class, Brittnee was at the table next to her talking about her and Riley interjected that she could hear what she was saying.

Brittnee then made a dismissive comment, “I’m not talking to you” to which Riley responded, “Then don’t talk about me” and Brittnee threw a ruler at Riley which struck Riley right between the eyes and cut her. (Quotes above are not exact quotes, but the best I can gather from 2nd hand information.)

At that point, Riley stood to face her attacker, Brittnee swung at her again and then Riley began to fight back…this all happened within a few feet of the teacher’s desk.

The school nurse called me at work to tell me that Riley was injured and would need a stitch or two.

When I arrived at the school, Riley had a band aid and an icepack on her face and she was crying.

I took Riley to the ER and the cut was glued with dermabond. She will have a scar there for the rest of her life and honestly, I am quite disappointed that my daughter received the same punishment by the school that Brittnee received.

The PD did not see Brittnee’s assault of Riley as a punishable crime. Her family has made comments about Brittnee “winning” the fight on Facebook.

There clearly is no winner when 2 people that have been friends fight.

There has to be some law that says a verbal argument is one thing, but the person that takes it to a physical altercation must have some liability, yes?

Can I sue her parent to pay Riley’s ER bill, my lost work time, and the legal costs involved in recovering these things?

I feel the parent, as well as Brittnee need to know that bullying and physical assault have consequences. This happened in a junior high school in Texas. Thank you!

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 Donna,

In the State of Texas, along with most other states, parents can be held civilly liable for the acts of their children.

You can certainly demand the attacker’s parents pay your daughter’s medical bills. You can also demand they pay you an additional amount for the scarring your daughter may have to endure for the rest of her life. Realistically those attempts will in all likelihood be futile.

Your next step would be to consider filing a lawsuit against the parents in Small Claims Court. In the State of Texas the Small Claims Courts’ jurisdiction, or “maximum amount” a person can sue for is $10,000 dollars.

Filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court is rather simple. Contact the local Justice of the Peace in your county. In Texas Small Claims lawsuits are handled primarily by the Justices of the Peace. Although in Texas filing fees vary from county to county, you can be assured the fee will not be more than $100 dollars – an amount you will get back when you prevail.

If you don’t believe $10,000 dollars is sufficient you can contact several personal injury attorneys. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation.

Sit with several. Try and find at least one with experience dealing with schools.

If an attorney accepts the case you won’t have to pay any money until, and unless the suit is successful. Then the attorney will take as her fee approximately one third of the total judgment or settlement amount.

Often the acts of children are covered by homeowners insurance policies. In that case your daughter’s case might very well be accepted by a personal injury attorney, especially as there is permanent scarring.

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 18, 2012

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