Visitor Question

Student was play fighting and punched a boy by accident…

Submitted By: Susan (Indiana)

My daughter was in her Special education room at school during a passing period and she was messing around with another student. She was acting like she was going to punch him and she missed the first time and did it again and caught him in the nose.

The other student’s mother came took him to the ER.

Am I as the parent of the student that did the punching responsible for the medical bills of the injured student? How is something like this handled? 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.


Dear Susan,

Under Indiana law (Indiana Code), a parent may be vicariously liable for the acts of his or her child under the following circumstances:

– The parent has legal custody of the child

– The child is living with the parent

– The child knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused property damage and/or physical injury to another person

However, under the above circumstances Indiana law requires a parent to be liable only for an amount up to $5,000, and no more.

Read Indiana Code, Section 34-31-4-1

In your situation, there are two (2) possible scenarios…

First: Speak with the parent of the injured child and volunteer to pay for the child’s medical bills, the parent’s lost wages (if the parent had to take time off from work to care of the child), and the parent’s out of pocket expenses (for such items as medications, bandages, costs of travel to treatment, etc.).

Second: Take no action and wait to see if the parent requests reimbursement for the items set out above.

Third: Refuse to pay for any of the costs set out above.

If however, you refuse to reimburse the parent for their costs (up to $5,000), and the parent sues you, you may also be liable for the parent’s attorneys fees and costs of court.

Learn more here: Parental Liability for Injuries

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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