Teenager Seriously Injured in Fight...

by Jane
(USA)

A 16 yr old boy punched my 16 yr old son in the face 3 different times on one occasion. The boy happened to ride up on his bicycle to where my son was hanging out with his friends. One of my son's friends started to antagonize the boy, trying to get him in a fight and calling him foul names for not fighting with him. Then, he persuaded my son to get up and my son did, but only jumped around and bounced around, never holding up his hands or attempting to punch the other boy.

The same friend of my son, called him names too. The other boy threw one punch into my son's right cheek, knocking him to the ground. He got back up, only to have the same boy punch him in the right eye, which immediately started to get black and swelled shut. The boy then threw a third punch into the center of my son's forehead, knocking him out and he fell to the concrete.

He was unconscious, but we really don't know for how long. He said he woke up being pulled to a bench of a picnic table, by the boy who threw the punches. He remembers seeing a patrol car drive through the park by where they were. All while his friends watched.

I received a phone call approximately one hour later, stating my son was playing basketball and took an elbow to the face and he was really hurt bad and I should come and get him. I left what I was doing and drove to the park immediately, where I found my son with a wet t-shirt tied around his head and eye. I guess his it was his friends' idea of getting ice to the injuries.

I asked the boys if he was knocked out when he hit the ground. Everyone was saying no and dispersing very quickly as I was putting my son into my car. He could not have driven, since his head was wrapped up and his eye was swollen shut. I had to ask one of the boys who had showed up to drive our truck back to our house, which he did. But no one offered up any other true information.

After getting my son in the house and getting ice on his face and having him lay down, I checked his pupils for concussion. He started to complain about feeling nauseated. That's when I called my husband the second time. I went and got a bowl for vomit. He needed to use the restroom, so I took him back upstairs to the restroom, with his bowl. As he was using the restroom, he began vomiting in the bowl too. After he vomited an entire bowl full of vomit, he began dry heaving.

I was having trouble keeping him awake, he said how tired he was. That's when I called my husband and told him to come home. My son's forehead was like a giant sponge with swelling. We suspected something other than an elbow to the eye now, as most of the right side of his face was bruising and both eyes were turning black.

My husband called the Emergency Room near us and asked if we should bring him in. They really couldn't answer us because they couldn't see him. (Had we known he'd been punched in the face three times, we would have already been on our way!)

The incident happened about 6:30pm, I was called at 7:30pm. We got in the car and went to the ER to be seen and had to wait for a long while, we didn't get home until 2:30am. While at the ER, he had a CAT scan, which had good and bad news. The good news was no bleeding on the brain, the bad news was he had a broken orbital bone in his face, under his right eye (the one that took the bad blow). The bad thing about that was it went into his sinus cavity and he may need surgery.

He had an IV started and had to get medication for pain and nausea, morphine for the pain and zofran for the nausea. The other bad news was that he had a concussion, both indicators of having been struck in the face with a fist. After several hours there they finally gave our son an ice pack to put on his face (good thing we had taken our own).

Soon after that, he was released until having to go to an eye Dr. the next morning at 8:00am, then seeing an ENT at 10:00am. The ENT said it should heal itself even though it went into the sinus cavity without surgery, although he will be out of Physical Education for one month. For a week afterwards, we kept asking our son if he had been in a fight, and he denied it. Or just asking him what really happened when no one else was around.

However, I saw someone I knew and they asked how our son was after being punched in the face. She could tell we didn't know, and I asked her more. She said our son, whom she worked with told her at work. We waited until the next day when our son got off work and asked him how long did he think it was going to take until we found out about what really happened. We got his side of the story, then, drove over the boy's house who punched him to get his story.

The other boy told us the same exact story as our son had told us, with the exception of the boy telling us he threw the first punch to his stomach...which we know isn't true. My son's stomach never hurt, but his face in the cheek area was completely bruised. His parents didn't seem to think their son had done anything wrong and had in fact apologized and told our son he was sorry.

When my husband told them he thought our son had been assaulted (actually battery assault) and that he was probably going to file charges against the boy, they asked us to leave their property (in a not so nice verbal way). We left and went directly to the Police Station, where we filed battery assault charges against the boy.

My questions now are: What should we know about what to do next? Do we need a lawyer and should we pursue a civil action so our son is compensated for his pain and suffering? And pursue compensation for us for our son's medical bills now and in the future? Plus, my husband's lost time off work to take our son to the doctors the next day? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Teenager Seriously Injured in Fight...":

Jane (USA):

The facts seem to indicate when the boy rode up on his bicycle he wasn’t acting in a threatening manner. The facts you present further seem to indicate the same boy didn’t make any threats to your son either. At this point the boy is innocent of any inappropriate behavior.

The next action seems to include your son’s friend beginning to taunt the boy. At the same time your son was “bouncing around”. We can only presume his wasn’t bouncing around was also his attempt to taunt the boy.

Although you didn’t specify the exact number of boys who were their with your son, from the tenor of your disclosure we presume the number of boys included more than just your son and one other friend.

Whether it was just your son and his friend, or your son and more than one of his friends, the boy on the bicycle was clearly forced into a “fight or flight” mode. He could have run away from being bullied by your son and his friend(s), or stood his ground. He chose to stand his ground and defend himself.

It is difficult for us to take seriously your description of the severity of your son's injuries, especially when you state your son suffered a "broken orbital bone in his face," but yet was able to return to physical education within 4 weeks. That just doesn't ring true.

A fracture of the orbital socket (or bone) is a very serious injury which requires substantially more recovery time than 4 weeks. It is especially curious when you indicate your son returned within a month to physical education; a class which includes the playing of sports.

It sounds like your son needs to take responsibility for his actions.

Keep in mind the above statements are based on the limited information given in your question and it's entirely possible there is more information about this case which, if we had known, would entirely change the above response. For your own best interests, we'd suggest you contact an attorney in your area for a more in-depth review of the facts of your case.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
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PERSONAL INJURY
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MEDICAL ERROR
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