Play dates that start out fun can quickly go downhill if a child becomes injured. Parents not only have to worry about the physical and emotional harm to the child, but they must also worry about who is financially responsible for the child's medical bills and any other expenses related to his or her injuries.
Childhood accidents and injuries can happen anywhere, but some of the most common home injuries occur from falls. Other common accidents include drowning, suffocation, poisoning, choking, and accidents involving firearms. Injuries may result from trampoline accidents and dog bites as well. When a child is injured in an accident at someone else's home, parents want to know who will pay the costs that arise in caring and treating for the injuries to their child and ensure their child's wellbeing.
Premises liability is the legal theory that holds a homeowner responsible for activities and conditions on the homeowner's property. This means when a child is injured while at the home of someone else, it is generally the homeowner who is financially responsible for the resulting injury, even in those instances in which the homeowner had no control over the accident. For instance, if a child becomes injured by tripping in a home or slipping in the backyard, the homeowner may end up liable. This is true even when the child may be the one who caused the accident and was doing something he or she shouldn't have been doing. Examples of this include if a child sneaks into a yard to jump on a trampoline or swim in a pool without permission and ends up injured. In the case of dog bites, the homeowner may not only be civilly liable, but criminally liable as well.
Liability for personal injuries can include not only the costs of medical expenses, but in some cases awards for pain and suffering as well. Usually, a homeowner's insurance policy covers the cost and the insurance company will pay for the injuries. If the homeowner did not advise the insurance company of certain risks, however, such as trampolines, swimming pools, or ownership of a dog, the insurance company may not have to pay, but the homeowner will still be financially responsible.
Every situation that results in an injury to a child is unique; contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and any potential claims you may have.