Toddler almost drowned when pushed into a pool by another child...

by Jackie
(South Florida)

I took my son to a birthday/pool party where another kid pushed him into the pool at the shallow end. I warned the kid to not do it as my son is still learning how to swim. Later while walking towards me (very little space to walk, he had to pass by the pool to get from point A to point B), the kid came running and purposely pushed him into the pool again, but this time it was at the deep end.

The kid's father just sat there and watched, and so did his kid, they just stared at my son drowning. I jumped after him and took him out of the pool.

During the incident I ended up losing my over $500 dollar phone which was in my pocket, and due to trauma am now taking anxiety medicine as I cannot even sleep without seeing the terror in my son's eyes as he swallowed water in an attempt to breath.

I took him to urgent care for chest x-rays and full exam, and was told to keep an eye on him for the next 48 hours. The dad did absolutely nothing, he told me that his son pushes his 2 year old daughter into the pool all the time and that she is always fine, and that the boy then "helps her" out of the water (yes, after pushing her in).

He also told me to stick my phone into rice and hope that it works again.

My question is: Is there anything I can do to make this guy takes responsibility for what he has been letting his kid do all the time (as he said it himself)? His kid went ahead and pushed other kids into the pool, and no one did anything, as if that was ok (the other kids were older and taller than my son, so didn't have a problem standing up and getting out of the water).

I am so angry at this guy for just laughing it off after his kid almost killed mine. What can I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Toddler almost drowned when pushed into a pool by another child...":

Jackie (South Florida):

Fortunately your son was not injured. While your vicarious terror was certainly real, you can't sue someone for being a jerk. It appears the father was...well, let's just say he probably could use some parenting lessons.

Legally speaking, the father did not, nor did anyone else, have a legal duty to jump into the pool to scoop up your son. This might not be true if you had entrusted your son to the care of the father, and you weren't present at the time your son was pushed into the pool. Fortunately, you were there and saved your son from what could have been a tragic event.

From the facts you preset it isn't likely the father will agree to pay for the repair or replacement of your phone. Moreover, while your terror was real, for it to be financially compensable your son would have had to have suffered a much worse fate. Fortunately, he didn't.

You might sue the father in small claims court, for the repair or replacement of your phone, but doing so will require your having to pay filing fees and service fees, and take time off from work for the trial. Because there is no guarantee you will win the case, you may end up losing more than just a phone.

There are times when one has to just walk away shaking their head. This appears to be one of those times.

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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