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Ask Rene: Broken Arm, Fractured Friendship

 

Dear Rene-

We know kids will be kids and when it comes to playing and they are sometimes fearless. My 10-year-old son, Darren, was climbing a tree with his best friend Shawn in our backyard when Shawn fell several feet and broke his arm. A trip to the hospital and cast on his arm was the damage. Thank God it wasn’t more serious.

Rene, I feel terrible. Shawn’s parents, who are our neighbors, are very upset and want us to reimburse them the co-pay for his medical bills (he went to the emergency room so it wasn’t cheap). I’m not working right now and don’t have health insurance or the extra money.  Since Shawn fell on our property am I responsible or should we consider this an unfortunate accident between kids?

 Sarah

Kansas

Hi Sarah:

Wow, this is just one more in the long list of things that keep parents awake at night. I think about this a lot myself. I can’t give the legal answer because I’m not a lawyer, but Good Enough Mother thinks you might want to handle it this way.

TALK TO SHAWN’S PARENTS: This might not be an easy conversation, given the fact that Shawn’s folks are pretty pissed right now. But I would go to them and explain what happened. Tell them it was an accident due to kids being kids, as you said. Give a heartfelt apology and then..

OFFER TO PAY SOMETHING…ANYTHING:  I know money is tight; it is for so many of us. That might include Shawn’s family, otherwise, why would they be pressing you to reimburse them for the co-pay? At the very least, offering to pay something, even if it’s just a few dollars a week, sends the message that you care and want to help.

TIME FOR AN INSURANCE UPDATE: Now’s as good a time as any to do a quick insurance check-up. Call your  agent and make sure you are carrying enough coverage. I’ve never been in this situation so I’m not sure if you can even do this but perhaps reimbursing the co-pay is something that is covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. It might be worth asking.

I’m not sure how close you are with Shawn and his parents but it sounds like the monetary and physical damage will take a backseat to a fractured friendship. Maybe time will heal, not just the broken arm, but the relationship as well.

Good luck mommy!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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