Can we sue for personal injury after a fight? 22 Answers as of July 12, 2013

My son 16 was hit during a party in a private house by another boy the same age, it turns out they were all drinking. My son did not return the hit and left for the hospital he had 5 stitches. It seems the boy hit him with something sharp since he split his nose open. The father of the boy is willing to pay medical costs but my son has a scar now. Is this a law suit, what ball park amount is the right to sue and how would it develop?

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Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
Certainly your son has a claim to make. The value of the claim depends on many different factors, including but not limited to the location and size of the scar, the events of the evening, the parents' knowledge of the underage drinking, etc. You should speak to a lawyer to get a specific assessment of your case.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/8/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Facial scarring can be a significant and permanent injury. It may potentially justify the policy limits of the coverage. It would benefit you to have an attorney review the case. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/2/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Set an appointment with a personal injury attorney. Consultations are generally free. Most can be retained on a contingency fee.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/2/2011
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
You would have the right to make a claim against the parents of the kid, but I cannot answer the rest of the questions; you should consult a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/2/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You would file the lawsuit against the boy and his parents, and possibly against their homeowners' insurance policy. The amount would include all of the medical bills, including follow-ups with your family doctor, medications, transportation for medical care, lost wages if your son had to miss work, pain and suffering, and permanent scarring. You will have 5 years to bring this lawsuit. The exact amount to ask for is very difficult to determine, as the majority of what you're asking for is going to be pain and suffering and the scarring. It is hard to assign a dollar figure to those. Also, your son may have some comparative negligence if he was drinking/rough housing. I can tell you that I have heard a number of people give the figure that, on average, using an attorney will double the amount of money you receive in settlement, but then you give the attorney a third. So it seems that, generally, you come out ahead if you use an attorney. But because this seems to be a small case with only one trip to the emergency room, you may simply want to ask for triple the medical costs. Of course it is also hard to say that since I do not know what the medical costs were. If you have further questions or want to discuss this further, please feel free to contact my office. I or my staff can answer your questions.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/2/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    In North Carolina this would be called contributory negligence which would bar recovery of any amount. When fights occur after drinking jurors commonly don't award damages. A judge once told my client that when you go to sleep with the dogs you expect to wake up with fleas.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    There is not a real "ballpark." Three to five times the medical expenses would be a guide. The suit would be filed against the minor for the assault and the real case would be against the parents of the private party house if they knew there was drinking involved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You could also go after the homeowner if underage drinking involved. Talk to an attorney in your state.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In order for the case to be worth bringing, you would need to find out if the other side has adequate insurance or assets to pay for your son's damages. The question of whether an insurance policy would cover the attack is a complicated one and (from the facts you've provided) it isn't possible to give a definitive answer yet. However, I'd be happy to look at the case in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to hold the parents responsible either under a premises liability theory (for making the house available for a party, either deliberately or negligently), or some jurisdictions have laws that directly hold parents responsible for the wrongful actions of their children. You could sue the 16 year old as well, but collecting any judgment may be difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2012
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    It depends on the amount of the medical bills length of treatment and the scarring among other things. You should consult with an attorney in your area to discuss in detail.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Your suit is probably against the other 16 year old and not his parents. To sue the parents, you would have to show that they were negligent in some way. Whether your suit is against the parents, or the other 16 year old (who likely cannot pay the judgment if you win) I see the other 16 year old testifying that your son started the fight, and it ending in as swearing contest (your son has the burden of proof). If you do win, you will get a judgment for your medical bills and whatever the scar is worth, which is intangible and hard to put a price on. I would take their offer, be gracious, and chalk it up as one of those things you go through in life. Often in these situations, you do not get such an offer.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    The homeowner is probably liable and his homeowners could be attached to pay a judgment. That being said, there is probably no suit here since there is alcohol involved and piecing facts together as to what happened can be complicated.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Insurance will not cover an intentional act, so it may be a tough case to collect on. I would be happy to discuss with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Who started the fight and the circumstances surrounding what happened are very important. That said, the owner of the home where the fight occurred may have "med-pay" (short for medical payments) coverage that pays medical bills that are caused by an incident on the owner's property without regard to fault. Check into that. Also, if the boy who injured your son is a family member of and resides with a family that owns a home and has homeowner's insurance there is probably liability coverage in some amount to compensate your son. This is based on the other boy being legally liable, however. you need to get a lawyer as soon as you can.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A.
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A. | Joseph Lipsky
    Assuming the other boy's parents were home or knew of the party, they may be liable for failing to properly supervise their home. If that family has homeowner's insurance, you may be able to make a claim for your son's injuries. You should certainly speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    You need to hire personal injury attorney. You may have claim against homeowner and person who supplied the alcohol.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    I had a professor in law school that would always respond to the question "can I sue" with "you can sue for anything". The better question is probably should you sue or will you be successful if you sue. Yes, you have a potential personal injury claim. There are significant problems with your claim, since juries don't like awarding money to people that got hit while drinking. Still, it's worth sitting down with a personal injury attorney to discuss it further.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    If you are in Oregon, you may have a claim against the parent of the child who assaulted your son and the owner of the home in which the kids were partying, if the two are different. The amount of damages depends on the degree to which the adults were negligent, the character of the kid that split your son's nose open, whether your son did anything provocative, the medical bills and the size of the scar, among other things.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    You can sue the boy who hit your son, but it is unlikely that he has the money to pay a judgment against him. His parents are not necessarily liable for their minor child's acts unless they were somehow (directly) negligent in causing their son to assault yours (maybe if they purchased the alcohol). The reason they are likely willing to pay on behalf of their son is so that you do not file criminal charges against him (sort of a civil compromise to the criminal case). I have successfully negotiated a number of civil compromises to criminal cases resulting in large awards for my clients in exchange for a negotiated settlement to the criminal case. So, that may be an option for you and your son. The other possibility is filing a social host liability lawsuit against the person who served alcohol to the boy who assaulted your son. In order to prove such a case in Oregon your attorney would have to prove that the assaulter was served alcohol by the host while the assaulter was visibly intoxicated. Also, cases like this require a notice be sent to the host within 6 months under particular circumstances so it is important that you see a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. I can't speak to how such a case would develop because there are myriad different variables to such a case and all of them affect the potential outcome. I recommend that you seek the advice of an attorney, many (including myself) offer a free in person consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/1/2011
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