Q: My 10-year-old son was invited to a pool party at a friend’s house in the neighborhood during which there was little supervision. He slipped and fell while running on the wet pavement and, as result, broke his arm and suffered numerous cuts and bruises. Can the owner of the home be held financially/legally responsible for his injuries?
This hypothetical presents several considerations. First, you have a relationship to consider. Anytime a child is hurt at a friend’s house, how the parents handle the situation can affect the relationship between the families and in this case even the neighborhood.
The second consideration is more of just a legal question. Namely, can the homeowner be held responsible for an invitee’s injuries. Under Indiana law a homeowner does guarantee the safety of invitees.
However, when a homeowner invites someone over, the homeowner has a duty to the invitee to make sure the home is reasonably safe and free of hazards. So, If a hazard (here wet pavement) does exist, the homeowner should correct the hazard, barricade the area and/or warn the invitee of the danger. Of course when the invitee is a child, the homeowner also has duties to supervise the invitee and inform the invitee’s parents of the activities the children will be participating in while at the home.
The legal outcome of this case may turn on whether homeowner informed the parents of the invitee that the kids would be swimming, whether the homeowner adequately supervised the kids and whether the homeowner warned the kids of the wet pavement.
Often in law, there is not a clear answer to a particular situation. So, someone in a situation like this one should contact an experienced personal injury law firm to help in deciding what to do and how strong of a case they may have.