Injury Responsibility

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by mongting, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    I was playing tennis two weeks ago. And when I was volleying, the ball was deflected from my racket and it hit the guy who was picking up the ball between the courts. He was playing tennis in the adjacent court. He was wearing glasses and got a tiny cut in the nose and blood bruise in the white part of his right eye like http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcwillimedia/3711406801/
    . Looks like they call it 'Subconjunctival hemorrhage'. The glasses were okay. I told him that I am sorry it happened and gave him some first-aid stuff.

    Apparently, he went to the ER after the incident and contacted me today. He e-mailed me that he wants to know if I can pay the part of his ER copay. If it is just ER copay, I am willing to pay but I am worried. I am concerned that if I pay something to him, I would admit the responsibility and open the door for another series of bills. What do I have to do? BTW, he is the college professor.
     
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  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Admit nothing, pay for nothing. This was an Act of God, or an accident, no blame, no responsibility.
     
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  3. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Offer to smash a ball into his other eye so they match.
     
    #3
  4. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    Thank you guys. I got embarrassed when I received the email because I thought it wasn't a big deal. He asked me my contact information at that time. So I gave him my business card. I just wanted to act nice.
     
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  5. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    The right thing to do would be to pay his copay. However, clarify that if you pay his copay costs, he'll not come after you in the future for personal injury, related to that accident.

    He could sue you in small claims court and would probably win.

    Similar scenario: If a kid is playing baseball and accidentally breaks a neighbor's window, that kid/parent is responsible for the damages - even though it was unintended.

    I'm not a lawyer but one is not automatically absolved from damages if one causes unintended injury to another.

    - - -

    I'm curious, if any PI lawyers are reading this... would it matter if the person injured is on your court and they are accidentally injured by a ball you struck - since they are willingly participating in a match that includes you. I'm wondering if there is any difference according to the law.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
    #5
  6. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    You likely have no responsibility here. Unlike a baseball breaking a neighbor's window, your ball was in a normal area of play and he was apparently not paying attention while your point was in progress. He shouldn't have been there at that moment picking up a ball but rather should have waited until your point was over.
     
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  7. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    I know he was outside his court but close to his court. I don't think any would pay attention to the other court when the ball is kinda close to the court.
     
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  8. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    What's a normal area of play. The OP's court would be a normal area if the guy ran onto their court and was hit. However, the OP stated the ball hit the guy after a flubbed volley and he was nearer to his court than the OP's. The guy who was hit was a victim, doing nothing more than retrieving a ball.

    Stuff like this happens. But, you have to step up to the plate and be accountable if you injure somebody - even if it's unintended.

    - - -

    OP: just email him back and voice your concerns. If he's willing to drop it if you pay his copay, I'd go for that. You take responsibility and don't have to worry about a future lawsuit. Copays are usually pretty cheap.
     
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  9. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    Copay is $100 right now. But in his insurance, there will be percentage of ER doctor fee and exam fee if he got exams in ER. I am not sure he's aware of those bills will be sent to him later.
     
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  10. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Not sure of the responsibility.

    When I take clinics at my club (private), and students come close to hitting the instructor, he jokingly mentions that he is covered for any injuries sustained on the court.

    Not sure how that applies (if at all) to club members participating in the clinic or to club members simply playing amongst themselves.
    or
     
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  11. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    As I mentioned IMO he is on extremely thin ice supposing that you have any responsibility here.

    OTOH if he is an acquaintance and you feel bad and you want to soothe your conscience for a measely $100, go right ahead, but print out a boilerplate that states that by cashing the check he absolves you from any future liability on this issue.
     
    #11
  12. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    It is unbelievable that anyone would think the op has any responsibility to the other guy in this case. By being on a tennis court he assumed responsibility for himself and was aware of the multiple flying object hazard that goes with it.

    No reasonable person or judicial system would apportion any blame on you here. Ignore him, there is no moral reason for you to assume or be expected to assume, responsibility.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
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  13. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    It was an accident at a tennis facility--I suspect that the OP has no liability here (but that's really up to a trier of fact). While it might be nice to offer to pay the co-pay, that could be interpreted as an admission of liability (and I think that is significant here--as I am a bit suspicious of anyone who would want someone to contribute to a co-pay for a stray ball accident at a tennis facility). Hopefully you have umbrella insurance coverage--report it to your carrier and let them handle it. Good luck.
     
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  14. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    It's unfortunate that we've turned into such a litigious society. The guy didn't injure himself, even though the hit was not intended by the OP.

    To the OP, the right thing to do is pay for it - and clarify that it was an accident and unintentional and that you'd hope he'd not pursue any legal action.

    IMO, you're letting your imagination lose control. I doubt the guy wants a large cash settlement. He simply wants you to do the right thing.

    - - -

    Keep us posted about how it's resolved.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
    #14
  15. tennisgotomarket

    tennisgotomarket Rookie

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    Do you guys think that if this is something one should get a police report for if it happens again?
     
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  16. Devil_dog

    Devil_dog Semi-Pro

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    I honestly believe the OP has no other obligation other than what he did which was offer his apologies and first aid right after the incident. To have to pay for the guy's medical expenses is ludicrous. The "victim" was at the wrong place at the wrong time but it's not the fault of the OP the errant ball hit the guy. There was no malice and no negligence. Victim could try to sue but that would be a waste of everyone's time and money, IMHO.

    And as far as filing a police report? Good luck with getting a cop to leave his donut for a situation like this...
     
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  17. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    My question would be:

    What did he do after he received first aid? Did he stay and hit for a bit?

    Why did he goto the ER? Im only assuming that other places have Urgent Care which is a faction of the cost of an ER visit. Being a professor don't they have student health services urgent care on campus?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
    #17
  18. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    #18
  19. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Is there a sign saying 'Use the facilities at your own risk.' posted anywhere? Most public and private facilities have signs to this effect. If an injury occurs based on incidents that are normal for that sport, then you and the facility are not liable. Since this is tennis and people do get injured by flying tennis balls, I side with the group that says 'Don't Pay.' If it was a bystander on a golf course and was hit by an errant drive and knocked out, there still would be no case. Errant drives are a normal hazard of playing golf. 2 cents.
     
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  20. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    #20
  21. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    I'm in the "Don't Pay nuthin' " group.

    Even though the injured party wasn't on the same court, there was no intent, no motive to hurt.

    The injured guy needs to man up, accept the risk, and next time be more aware of his surroundings!
     
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  22. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Your advice is an example of the direct result of how people's moral attitudes have been warped through decades of generally moronic springboard litigiousness in the US.

    The right thing to do here is: offer nothing. It is right morally and legally.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
    #22
  23. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    First of all, he was at the tennis courts. There are tennis balls flying around.

    Secondly, he was near a court where the ball was in play. It was his responsibility to not become an obstruction or distraction and to be aware of where the ball is flying for his own safety.

    I don't see how the OP holds any responsibility for this incident. I hope he doesn't get sucked into anything. Don't be a payer.
     
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  24. KTM144sx

    KTM144sx New User

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    OP has NO rresponsibility.

    Thirty years ago if the guy had asked me to pay then I would have but wouldn't have had any fear of future litigation. You can't just pay and tell him you "hope" he won't pursue legal action. By his asking you to pay to begin with, means that he thinks you have some liability for it.

    If you pay, you are setting a very bad precedent. Next, he could come back to you for his portion of the doctor fee, the x-ray fee, etc. I do think it's a little unusual that he'd ask you to pay as opposed to just chalking it up to a freak accident, which technically could be his own fault for not paying attention, waiting until your point was over,etc. I think his actions were more at fault than yours. What ever happened to personal accountability?

    I commend you for wanting to do the right thing, however, I do think you've already done more than one would be expected to and I'd be very afraid of future repercussions.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    OP: you have no responsibility here. You should not have given out your contact information. The more you get involved here, the more you open yourself up to litigation.
     
    #25
  26. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    No lawyer but ... I'd think the key issue here would be reckless behavior. One is certainly responsible on court for what could be presented as reckless; mis-hits on practice volleys wouldn't, imo, be remotely reckless. Everyone assumes some appropriate degree of risk when engaging in life activity.
     
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  27. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    experienced lawyer here.

    you have about a 0.000000001% chance of being held legally liable (it's not 0.0 because human beings are sometimes irrational, even in groups of 12, and his brother in law might be the Judge, heh heh)

    IF you choose to pay some money because you feel it is the Christian thing to do, go ahead.

    If you want to be paranoid about it (and being married to a college professor, it might be a good idea to be paranoid about it, those guys and gals are pretty flaky sometimes) write "settlement in full - liability denied" on the memo line of the check. PS - Honey, if you are reading this, I'm talking about them, not you....

    It likely wont absolve you of liability if you really did something intentional or reckless (Like if you screamed "get away from my court, you interloper!!!!" as you smashed a ball at his eye as hard as you could) but it certainly would insulate you from any claim that you admitted liability by paying the $100.00
     
    #27
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thanks, finally, an informed reply.
     
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  29. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    So, what do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? :mrgreen:
     
    #29
  30. sachin_patel

    sachin_patel New User

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    If you want to be nice and want to give him money, give him cash. so no evidence that you paid him (making you guilty implicitly)

    If he tries to sue you, you just say you didn't even go to tennis court that day.. or you hit the ball first and he ran into it later..
     
    #30
  31. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Yes, and freakishly similar to post #11...
     
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  32. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    But his hourly rate is likely much higher than yours. :twisted:
     
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  33. KTM144sx

    KTM144sx New User

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    lol. OP is asking for opinions on an internet chat board. Would anyone here trust a chat board for true legal guidance? For all we know, the "lawyer" could be a 12yr kid getting advice from "Matlock".

    Disclaimer: no offense intended to the lawyer, especially if you in ATL and we happen to meet on opposite sides in a court room! :)
     
    #33
  34. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Please tell us the problem with asking opinions on an Internet chat board? Since your opinion could also be that of a '12yr kid', why should we take your comment seriously?

    Don't discount the collective knowledge and experience of others. The OP is free to process anything he reads and then either act on it, discount it or research it further.
     
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  35. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    UPDATE: Thank you all for your advices. I ignored his previous e-mail because I knew the copay is not all. Looks like he got his final bill recently. Now he is asking $480 of total ER bill(copay + ER stay + pain killer + ER doctor fee). I wish he had visited the urgent care which is way cheaper than ER. Or he could just wait and meet the family doctor on Monday.

    This time, I replied with the best explanation I could do about the liability in sports. Hopefully, I don't have to hire a lawyer. :cry:
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
    #35
  36. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    This fellow you deal with is ridiculous. I would ignore him entirely at this point.
     
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  37. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I dove for a ball several years ago and had bruised ribs, cuts above the eye and on my knee and a sprained wrist. I finished out the set and drove home and stuff started hurting so I drove to CVS, bought a few things and went home and took care of things. I haven't been to an emergency room in 48 years but I've had my fair share of accidents.

    The ER is way overused and part of the medical cost problem that our country has. It sounds like this guy doesn't have insurance - if you don't have insurance, don't use high-cost resources (if you're going to actually pay for the services). Yes, urgent care probably would have been a much better option. Going to the library to read a book on first-aid would be a good investment for everyone.

    My workplace does video-doctor now. You can get a video consultation and I think that there's no charge for it compared to copays for visiting a doctor on your health plan. It sounds like it's far cheaper for the company to do it that way then visiting a doctor in-person.

    BTW, I think that you're handling this correctly.
     
    #37
  38. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    Actually, it is after insurance! He kindly attached the bills.
    Exam by doctor - $335, Pharmacy - $75, Emergency Room - $580
    Insurance paid around $500. And the balance is $480. As far as I know, his insurance plan has deductible and he pays about 20% after deductible.
     
    #38
  39. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Did you get my reply to your PMs the other day?

    Don't waste your time with this guy. Send him a final message explaining the complete lack of liability (including morally) on your part - as per the messages I sent - and also to desist from contacting you on this matter.
     
    #39
  40. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    The original poster has as much chance of successfully blaming this on his racquet manufacturer for the angle the balls flew off the frame as the injured person does of successfully proving any case in this instance.
     
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  41. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Send me $100.
     
    #41
  42. Lefty5

    Lefty5 Hall of Fame

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    This is what is wrong with America...Don't pay and tell him to grow up!
     
    #42
  43. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    Is this a referral on how litigious our country is, how precarious many of us feel in the financial sense, how poor health care, even for a tenured professor is, or just how important are competent volleying skills?
     
    #43
  44. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    It sounds like his insurance was fine - he just made a bad choice as to the form of health care that he chose.

    I didn't see an indication that he was a tenured professor. He could have been an adjunct.
     
    #44
  45. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Keep us posted on how this is resolved
     
    #45
  46. goober

    goober Legend

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    The golf example is closest to tennis ball. Looks like the op should have no liability as most suspected. Personally I would not give out my contact info to a stranger. Just opening yourself up for phone and email harassment.
     
    #46
  47. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I would not pay the injured player anything based on my belief that there is a presumed assumption of risk by all participants who enter a tennis court area. It is nice to know that some courts agree.
     
    #47
  48. merlebo02

    merlebo02 Rookie

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    why did he go to the ER, this was not an emergency!!! He should have waited until the next day and went to his primary provider for a fraction of the cost… I would not pay a dime by the way
     
    #48
  49. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    BTW, a VERY experience lawyer friend of mine, who was also a VERY good lawyer completely lost an eye on a tee shot that was EXTREMELY hit on the toe of the club. He was standing completely off the tee and (unfortunately) only slightly behind the guy teeing off.

    The guy hit the golf equivalent of an extreme tipped overhead and the ball actually spin backward and got him right in the eye.

    He didn't even try to make a claim on the guy's liability insurance, he knew better. That's how unlikely college professor guy's claim is. BTW, the attorney's name is John Lais???? ...... and he practices in WV. While I don't think he really cares, a google search would probably show there is attorney by that name, if anyone doubts the factuality of this similar episode.
     
    #49

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