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Child injured at friend's house

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by UnfortunateFall, Nov 29, 2022.

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  1. UnfortunateFall

    UnfortunateFall Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    My 8 year old son was playing at a friends house and tripped on a pool cover. He smashed his face into concrete or brick, maybe the coping around the pool. He already had braces on his upper teeth. The brakes were knocked off, some of his fron 6 teeth knocked back into his mouth, some pushed up further into the jaw. He also took a large chip out of one of his adult incisors. So far we have had two ER visits (one ER recommended we go to another ER an hour away because pediatric dentist's were on call there). Followed up by visits to his orthodontist, an oral surgeon, his regular dentist and soon an endodontist.

    Our concern now is when the bills start rolling in and the unknown future medical bills based on if the teeth do not recover from the trauma, causing future work that may be needed.
    From my understanding, the Friend's home insurance probably has "Medical Payments" in their insurance, which shouldn't require any legal action to access. Though, from what I can tell, is probably going to be something like $5000.

    I am uncertain if my 8 year old running and tripping on a pool cover would be considered neglect by the home owner? From my research, this would be the decision point if liabillty would cover any of his medical cost.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Most (if not all) homeowner's insurance policies do, in fact, have this coverage. It pays for injuries occurring on the covered property regardless of legal liability, but it is limited in amount.

    This barely makes sense. Kids sometimes fall when they play. It's part of life. Are you suggesting that your kid's friend's parents should not have let the kids play outside or should have attempted to prevent them from running? Maybe wrapped them in bubble wrap? If so, why?

    Nothing you've posted suggests any legal liability on the part of your kid's friend's parents. If you want to try to prove otherwise, you will have a massive uphill battle, but you certainly can consult with a local attorney. Query, however, if you think your own medical insurance will be insufficient to cover the injuries to your child?
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    The word is negligence, not neglect. You can study up on the elements of negligence at the following article.

    Negligence - Wikipedia

    Yeah, I know, it's Wikipedia, but the basics are there.

    You'll get some idea behind Zddoodah's comment about the uphill battle.

    As for Medical Payments on a homeowner's policy, the homeowner would have to notify the insurance company of the claim.

    I suggest you talk to the homeowner about that.
     
  4. UnfortunateFall

    UnfortunateFall Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Sorry, I wrote this pretty loosely as my son's memory of the event is not great. I just wasn't sure where the line of negligence lies when it comes to children versus adults. I, as a parent, always feel much more responsibile for one of my children's friends playing at our house compared to an adult friend visiting. I also don't know exactly what the hazard looks he tripped on. I assumed there are scenarios with kids falling and getting hurt that would be considered negligence, such as a hole dug in the yard that wasn't taped or fenced off, or a rake laying in the middle of the yard that a kid fell on. We are going over today to get a feel for what occured. Ideally I am hoping the medical payments cover the cost of the damage or are at least close. Thanks for the quick feedback. I just needed an understanding as I have never dealt with any scenario like this.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Have your son explain what happened and point to what tripped him.

    Take photos and post them here.

    Ask the homeowner about the Medical Payments Coverage.

    It's likely that the homeowner has no clue about the coverage. Print out the following and hand it to them. It's the same or similar to their own policy.

    upload_2022-11-30_5-39-40.png
     
  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    2(b) might be a sticking point.
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    The injury occurred on the "insured location." 2b only applies where the injury occurs off the "insured location."
     
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  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Got it - thanks
     
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  9. stealthy1

    stealthy1 Active Member

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    Is the pool fenced according to CT code?
     
  10. UnfortunateFall

    UnfortunateFall Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback so far.


    The pool is not completely enclosed in a fence, it is part of the back yard. Though from the driveway to the backyard is a staircase as the backyard is elevated and there is a continuous fence with a gate between the two. Pretty much, if you exit into the backyard, you are in the pool area.


    We finally met up with the friend's father, who witnessed it, and explained what happen. My son's story and the father's stories don't align, not sure any of this matters? I'll give both versions:

    It was raining when all of this occurred and the pool cover was slick.


    My son's recollection: He was chasing after his friend, who was on the other side of the pool. He didn't realize he was running heading towards the part of the pool cover that was unsupported (over the pool). He doesn't recall the fall. But he did say something like "I forgot about the pool" when the father helped him up and was leading him into the house to get looked at.


    The father's recollection: The two kids were playing hide and seek, when my son walked across the yard and across the narrow part of the pool cover. He slipped and fell while walking on the pool cover suspended over the narrow entry part of the pool. As the father was walking my son in, my son mentioned "he forgot about the pool cover". The father mentioned the pool cover acts like a trampoline because of the spring connection points. I don't know if that attributed to the fall or just the fact it was raining and slick.


    I also found the broken tooth fragment of his adult incisor on the pool cover.


    Satellite view of property House


    Picture of pool with approximate path of son and the coping he hit. Pool2
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Either way, I see no negligence on the part of the homeowner.

    Did you discuss the homeowner's medical payments coverage?
     
  12. stealthy1

    stealthy1 Active Member

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    This *may* not be up to code. It seems there is no state law regarding pool enclosures/fences but is apparently governed by municipal/city ordinances. But I admittedly didn't do a deep dive. It's been my experience, however, that most municipalities require a pool to be fully and separately enclosed, not simply as part of a property line fence. Check with the city's code enforcement department and/or a local pool company.
     
  13. stealthy1

    stealthy1 Active Member

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    What if the fencing is not to code?
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Non-compliance with a code is not necessarily evidence of negligence. Pools were unfenced before the codes and people were either careful around them or weren't.
     
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  15. UnfortunateFall

    UnfortunateFall Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your input. We have not inquired on medical payments as of yet, though that is next on our list. We are waiting for the ER visit bills to roll in.
     
  16. UnfortunateFall

    UnfortunateFall Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The town code copies CT state code. CT state code states the house can serve as part of the barrier, though needs alarms on all windows and doors facing the pool. I wouldn't be surprised if the house doesn't have the alarms, though since the kids are allowed to play in the back yard around the pool, alarms wouldn't help. Also, they don't have a continuous fence around the pool, though the kids are allowed in the backyard, so a continuous fence wouldn't help. My wife mentioned that the mother at this house has mentioned wanted to fence around the pool area at some point, that would have helped, but too late for my son's teeth. I'm hoping this incident solidifies her plan to enclose the pool separate occccccjfkggdrbbfujfgtdgkvflleggtcdlrefekihdj
    f the backyard eventually.


    CT regulations for pool fence below:

    • The fence must be at-least 4 feet high.
    • There must be no more than a 2’ gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground.
    • The fencing can not have any protrusions and must be a solid barrier - a stone wall that is climbable does not serve as a fence.
    • The gap between horizontal pieces should be less than 45”.
    • Fences made of criss-cross or lattice nature should have openings no larger than 1.75”.
    • For split rail or board and post fences, safety mesh must be attached with openings no larger than 2.25”.
    • Access gates should have self-latching devices. When the latch is located less than 54” above the bottom of the gate, you must put the closing mechanism on the pool side of the fence.
    • If the side of a home or structure is to serve as a barrier, the first floor doors and/or windows must have an audible alarm installed.
     
  17. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    About the only time that the lack of a fence would come into play is if the injured party were injured by the water in the pool, aka drowning.

    The injury described in the OP could have happened anywhere.
     
  18. stealthy1

    stealthy1 Active Member

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  19. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Lots of potential this, possible that, maybe the other. And while most of that is theoretically true, that a homeowner could be liable for the injury sustained by a visitor, which is the same for any injury to any visitor from any cause, it does not specifically address the OP's situation.

    Moreover, there is also the issue of the child's own negligence as a factor contributing to his injury. Connecticut courts long ago adopted the rule that a child has a duty to use "such care as may reasonably be expected of children of similar age, judgment and experience."

    Stafford v. Roadway, 93 A. 3d 1058 - Conn: Supreme Court 2014 - Google Scholar

    Clennon v. Hometown Buffet, Inc., 84 Conn. App. 182 - Conn: Appellate Court 2004 - Google Scholar

    Those decisions require that the negligence of an injured minor be considered by the jury.

    Connecticut employs a modified comparative negligence rule. If a plaintiff's own negligence is more than 50% of the cause of his injury, he collects nothing.

    Returning now to the subject of this thread, remember the comment made by the 8 year old boy, "I forgot about the pool" or "I forgot about the pool cover" or words to that effect. The boy had prior knowledge of the pool and its risks but ran across it anyway.

    Could that be more than 50% negligent. There's no way to predict what a jury would decide though I have seen sympathetic juries make bizarre decisions.
     
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