A teenage boy, aged 14-15 years old was flown to Tampa General yesterday morning after a game with a friend and fire erupted into serious burns for the boy. The teenager was known in the neighborhood for his love of basketball, and was spotted by witnesses playing from the wee mornings til the late of the night. Monday morning, around 10:45, a neighbor arrived home after a workout to hear screams coming from the usual place he had heard dribbles many times before.
The neighbor immediately called 911, only to find that the child and his friend had allegedly poured gasoline onto the dining room table, and set the table aflame. It was this alleged act that is proposed as the cause of the injuries to the teenager, although the Police have not yet officially released the cause of the fire.
The boy’s friend, however, remained unscathed by the flames as the teenager took the brunt of the burns. The boy’s status has just been released to be that of critical condition.
In North Carolina, children are held to different standards than adults when dealing with injuries, unless of course the child in engaging in adult-like behavior, such as driving a motor vehicle. Moreover, North Carolina is one of only 5 states that follows the common law theory of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence will completely bar recovery is the plaintiff is even 1% negligent. However, in the case of children, the courts follow the colloquial ” rule of sevens.” This rule states that any child under the age of 7 is presumed to be incapable of negligence. Children aged 7-14 will also be presumed to be incapable of negligence; however there is a rebuttal presumption that the defendant may use. Lastly, if the child is over the age of 14, there is a presumption that the child is in fact capable of negligence, however, that presumption too may be rebutted.
Thus, injury cases involving children in North Carolina can often be tricky, especially by following the archaic theory of contributory negligence. In the event that the case becomes chaotic, obtaining counsel to sift through the weeds my alleviate both yours and your child’s stress.
If you or someone you know have been injured or killed in any type of accident, call the North Carolina personal injury attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower at 877-374-5999, or use this form, for a free consultation with an attorney to help you evaluate your claim and to get the recovery you deserve.