Kids these days, you know?
As each generation gets older, the younger ones always bear the brunt of the “darn kids” statements. As far back as the ancient Greeks, old people were complaining about how the youth of the day would not amount to anything.
It seems like this was the situation in Framingham on July 7th, when Peter Bruce yelled at three boys to get out of a parking garage and then chased them out of the garage with his car, reports Boston.com. A man living nearby called the police after witnessing the event, which he saw as Bruce chasing the boys and one of them falling while trying to escape.
Bruce claims he only told the boys to leave, but the boys told police they were afraid that Bruce was going to run them over, according to Boston.com. Bruce was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and put on administrative leave, but could he be in more trouble with civil lawsuits?
Assault is usually thought of as a crime, but it is also a tort, which is also a type of personal injury claim. Both the crime and tort of assault are based on an intentional action that a person initiates that puts you in reasonable fear of imminent harm.
There are defenses to assault, which include self-defense and defense of property. Defense of property usually requires that the property being defended is your house or apartment, not someone else's.
Here, since the boys were afraid that they were going to be run over by Bruce, they have the basic requirements of an assault claim. In trial, they might call the witness who called the police to testify whether the boys' fear was reasonable.
It may be somewhat difficult to show that Bruce intentionally chased them when he could have also just been driving out of the garage instead of chasing anyone.
Since it is possible to bring a claim within three years in Massachusetts, the boys and their families can wait to see whether Bruce's criminal charges stick to determine whether their own case has a chance.
Just remember, if you are in a situation like Peter Bruce, the guidance counselor, remember that no matter what those darn kids are doing, chasing them with a car or other deadly weapon might get you bad consequences in both criminal and civil court.
- Hunting for a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer? (FindLaw)
- Road Rage Leads to Shooting But was it Self-Defense? (Boston Personal Injury News)
- Don't Worry, Your Rat's in the Mail (Boston Personal Injury News)