Paintball injury: Does Insurance Have to Pay?


It should go without saying that shooting someone in the eye with a paintball gun or any other weapon is a really bad idea. But for some strange reason we have this form of entertainment. To make matters worse, children are particularly inclined to engage in this activity. So what happens when someone sustains a paintball injury? Does insurance have to pay for this?


Recently a judge in Delaware Superior Court decided that State Farm Insurance does not have to indemnify a policyholder in a paintball injury lawsuit. The ruling, reported by CBS News, is based on a provision in the policy that excludes coverage for expected or intended bodily harm. Let’s consider.


Playing Hard


Chad Wilkerson and Ethan Joseph were friends. They were playing at Gumboro Community Center one day when Chad left the center to go to Walmart and buy a paintball gun. Another friend gave him a ride. When they returned from the store, Chad called his friends over to the car and aimed his gun at them. He shot Joseph in the eye.


The court’s decision contains testimony from the child about his intentions. Chad himself said he wanted to hit any one of the boys, not Joseph particularly, and not in the eye, in order to convince his friends to play paintball. So Chad in his own words admitted his intent was to hit one of his friends.


Insurance Liability Exception: Intentional Conduct


According to the court, the facts are straightforward and undisputed: Chad intended and expected to hit one of the kids. Even if he did not intend to cause injury, he knew that there could be injury from this action. Because Chad knew the paintball could hurt someone and fired anyway, causing serious injury to Ethan’s eye, the judge agreed with the insurance company that this conduct fell under the liability exception in the State Farm homeowner’s insurance policy held by the Wilkerson family.


Dismissing the Wilkerson’s family motion for summary judgment, and granting that of the insurance company, the judge wrote, “I certainly agree with State Farm that this type of intentional conduct that creates a substantial probability of injury to another person is excluded from the homeowner’s insurance policy that it issued to Chad’s parents.”


Talk to a Lawyer


If you were injured due to the negligence of another, talk to a lawyer. Tell your story. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your claim.


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Old Man Writes to Federal Court to Complain About Deflategate Decision

They say that with age comes patience and wisdom, but one World War II veteran, 93, is short on the former. He wrote a letter to federal judges on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to let them know that their recent intervention in a sports scandal is, well, scandalous.


Calling a decision to overturn a ruling for quarterback Tom Brady and reinstate his four-game suspension for Deflategate “asinine,” Warren B. Lessing chided the judges for wasting time. “Don’t you have anything more important to do,” he asked in his letter, reports the New York Daily News. Let’s see why he’s angry.


Unnecessary Intervention?


Lessing, unlike the federal judges he accuses, has time. He is retired. He spoke on Boston’s CBS News Radio about why he’s so riled up over the Brady suspension and the court’s involvement. “I think it’s just a ridiculous waste of everybody’s time,” Lessing said. “I think there would be thousands and thousands of football fans and the general public who feel the same way I do.”


That may be true. For those who don’t know, the story is a little long but the short version is that Tom Brady was accused of involvement in a scheme to tamper with the air in the footballs used during a New England Patriots game in 2015. Brady was suspended for four games after an investigation by a labor commission.


Brady then challenged the labor arbitrator’s findings in federal court, and won. But this win was recently reversed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and that is what made Lessing so mad. It should be noted, however, that Lessing is not a Patriots fan, though he did write in support of Brady. Lessing likes the Giants. He does not like the Second Circuit right now.


Legal Developments


Meanwhile, the saga continues and the Second Circuit is receiving more messages. Today, Tom Brady’s lawyers announced that they are filing for rehearing of the decision, asking an appellate panel to review the conclusions. If the court takes Lessing’s counsel, Brady will be denied — that would save their precious time.


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