A mother has been ordered to pay $44,000 in damages after his 15-year old son slapped a puck that accidently struck a nine-year old boy in the face at an outdoor rink.
In a 10-page ruling, Quebec Superior Court Justice Julien Lanctôt held Yannick Rousseau to be mostly responsible for the accident that knocked out Samuel Bonneville’s three front teeth. Samuel had to undergo more than $40,000 in dental work, and missed a month of school.
The incident took place in a park that had two skating rinks, adjacent to each other, in the town of La Plaine, north of Montreal. On March 3, 2006, Samuel, along with two of his friends, began playing hockey in a smaller rink but found the ice was too bumpy and so moved on to a larger rink where there was about 10-to-15 people playing hockey. After a brief “caucus” by the boards, Samuel headed towards the net and when he heard one of his friends yell out “GO,” which meant their game was about to begin, he turned around – and was struck by the errant puck.
Judge Lanctôt ruled in Daigneault c. Gallant, 2009 QCCS 297 that Samuel must shoulder some of the blame for the accident. His mother told him to be careful if he ventured into the “big” skating rink, and Samuel knew there were people, older than him, who practised their slap shots. He also did not wear a helmet with a visor.
Still, Judge Lanctôt held that Yannick should bear the brunt of the blame as he saw young kids going by the net several times while practising his slap shot, and “should have been conscious that such a possibility existed” when winding up. He was also warned by a rink monitor to be careful because there were small children around. Also, the judge pointed out that the rink was a public rink open to all skaters, and not just hockey players.
Under the circumstances, the court held that Yannick was two-thirds responsible with Samuel bearing the remaining third.
Since the parties involved were under the age of 18, the law requires their guardians take responsibility.