My 10 year old son was being watched for the day by a 28 year old man name Mike. Mike gaver my son a loaded pelet air riffle unsupervised. My son accidentally shot the dog and didnt say anythign about it in fear of getting into trouble. the next day Mike noticed his dog was not doing well and found the entry wound. Mike's parents took dog to vet where they saved his life. Now the parents want us to pay the $10K+ vet bill for this dog. We offered to pay 50% of the bill since it was our son that shot the dog, we believe Mike, their son should b responsible for the other 1/2 since he was the adult that was suppose to be watching our son. Should we go to small claims for this? will Mike, the sitter get in trouble with law for leaving an under age child unattended with loaded air riffle? Please advice. Thank you for your time. This happened in Soutehrn California.
State/Country relating to question: California
Thank you for your question. Be sure to go ahead and bookmark www.nateanswers.com for future questions.This is a situation where both were negligent and a lot depends on how mature your ten year old son is and whether he would be mature enough to handle a pellet gun like that. The adult clearly is expected to be responsible for exercising better judgment than a ten year old and would have known the dangers of a pellet gun in the hands of a more immature individual.That said, an even split is probably fair to them considering how California apportions fault. Their problem is that it is their adult son who armed your ten year old son. If they will not take half, then make them go to small claims court. You can make your defense that their son bears the brunt of the blame there.Please remember to only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. IF you feel the need to rate "Poor Service" or "Bad Service", please stop and reply to me via the REPLY TO EXPERT button with the issue you have. I am not paid unless I get a rating of 3 to 5 Stars/Smiley Faces. If I have helped you with your question, please give me an appropriate rating so that I get credit for helping you. Thank you, Nate
Thank you for your answer. However, im still in the dark about the adult sitter...can he get criminal charges by the small claim attorney in california for this misfortune? would it be in our best interest to file a police report? and if so, what type of report? that our son shot the dog? or one for the sitter's
I don't believe anything criminal can be prosecuted in this case. It appears that this would be primarily be a civil matter. If the sitter gave him the pellet gun and he hurt himself, then there would be a good shot that child neglect charges would be filed.As for a police report, you can file one. It won't really have any bearing on the small claims court, though.The question that must be answered in court would be "Who is most at fault?". The percentage of fault attributed to each determines the judgment.For instance, if the court decides that the sitter is 70% at fault and the total damages are $10,000.00, then your son's fault would result in a $3,000.00 judgment. It really all comes down to who is considered the most at fault.
Over 8 years of criminal defense practice.
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