What is my liability if my child and another child bumped into each other at a department store and the other child was possibly hurt?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What is my liability if my child and another child bumped into each other at a department store and the other child was possibly hurt?

The other child fell and claimed their ankle was hurt. The parents would not let the child stand on the ankle and insisted it was broken and wanted to call for paramedics. Long story short, what if any is the liability here? It was a harmless accident amongst children, is their any liability on my part? They both were walking from different directions past racks taller then them thus they didn’t see each other around the corner.

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Personal Injury, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Typically, a parent of a young child is only liable if he or she was not monitoring or supervising his/her child properly, and that is what led to the child injuring another. And conversely, if the parents of the injured child did no monitor or supervise their child properly, that negligence (carelessness) could reduce or even eliminate the other child's parent's liability, since the injured party's own fault counteracts or acts as a set-off against the fault of the other party (e.g. say that party 1 is 75% at fault, and the injured party is 25%; if the injured party sued and won, they would only receive 75% as much as they would have had they not been at fault at all).

Based on what you write, there does not appear to be a basis for liability against you, if two children, walking in a store, happened to mutually bump into each other. That may not stop the other parent(s) from suing you, since people can use even if they do not have a good case, but you should have a good defense if that happens, based on what you have written.

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