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KarlaErikaCal
12-03-2009, 03:35 AM
Here is the context:

Chase starts a fight with Kyle, and Kyle falls back onto a metal rod sticking up (one of the seats in those lunch tables that high schools have did not have a top). Kyle goes into a coma.

First question: Can a diagnosis of a coma happen immediately? Like, I'm going to have Chase sit in the dean's office and then maybe some time passes and the nurse could call and inform the dean that Kyle is now stated to be in a coma.

Second question: Is it expected for Kyle's parents to sue or can they choose not to?

Any information will be greatly appreciated!

JulieHowe
12-03-2009, 04:27 AM
I'm not a lawyer, but here goes. The police are going to be involved, and Chase will probably be handcuffed and taken down to the nearest police station. If Kyle goes into a coma, Chase will most likely hear it from the police officers who are interviewing him, not the school nurse.

It should take a while, at least a few hours, for Chase to hear the news that he beat his classmate into a coma.


If Kyle's parents sue, it will be the school district, the manufacturer of the unsafe table that caused the injury, and Kyle and his parents. There's nothing obligating them to sue anyone, but even if they don't sue, their health insurance company might, to recover the money that was paid for Kyle's care.

KarlaErikaCal
12-03-2009, 04:57 AM
Oh... I didn't think about the handcuffing... Ok thanks! That helps! I'll have to rewrite a bit and think about the suing some more.

jclarkdawe
12-03-2009, 06:11 AM
Here is the context:

Chase starts a fight with Kyle, and Kyle falls back onto a metal rod sticking up (one of the seats in those lunch tables that high schools have did not have a top). So the rod is impaled in his head? Realize the rescue consists of cutting him free and taking the rod still in his head. You're going to get massive bleeding, which will probably cause shock and loss of consciousness. This is a felony level fight, and the police will be heavily involved. This will be a crime scene and any kid in the room would probably be interviewed by the police. Chase would be leaving the school in cuffs and booked and placed in custody. Probably no released from jail/juvie until it's decided whether Kyle is going to live or die. Chase is facing years in prison. Kyle goes into a coma. Maybe. Hopefully someone with more medical experience will respond. Significant brain damage is probable.

First question: Can a diagnosis of a coma happen immediately? Probably not. But it doesn't matter. This is a serious injury and the police/prosecutor doesn't need the gory details at this point. Like, I'm going to have Chase sit in the dean's office and then maybe some time passes and the nurse could call and inform the dean that Kyle is now stated to be in a coma. Not likely. Chase would be sitting in a cell or interrogation. And until a medical determination that Kyle is likely to live has been made, which will be several days probably, Chase'll continue to sit in a cell.

Second question: Is it expected for Kyle's parents to sue or can they choose not to? Probably not Chase. Chase ain't got no money. So why bother suing him? Court will order restitution for some far distant day when he goes free. Chances are he'll never pay it. And any lawsuit won't be for several months, and possibly more than a year.

Any information will be greatly appreciated!

Probably not what you want to hear, but you need to do a massive re-think here. Any foreseeable result to a small crime makes it into a big one. For example, if you shove someone, and they have a heart attack and die, you can be charged with felony murder. (Shoving someone is an assault.) Pushing and shoving someone and them hitting something is definitely foreseeable.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

KarlaErikaCal
12-03-2009, 06:40 AM
Thanks Jim! That really helps a ton! I've got to do a major rewrite. Ugh.. not too happy about that, but I'm glad I asked this because I had no idea.

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-04-2009, 10:42 PM
Here is the context:

Chase starts a fight with Kyle, and Kyle falls back onto a metal rod sticking up (one of the seats in those lunch tables that high schools have did not have a top). Kyle goes into a coma. !

Kyle doesn't "go into a coma" ... he suffers a "traumatic brain injury" (which can be made worse if someone yanks him off the rod) , the ambulance crew hauls him to the hospital (unconscious), Kyle goes into surgery to fix what they can fix, he's taken to ICU, still unconscious and probably deliberately deeply sedated for several days to minimize swelling ....

Several days later, he may be declared brain dead, or "minimally responsive" or in a coma, but the nurse is not going to be the one to deliver the news and it's not going to happen fast enough that Chase is still sitting in the dean's office.


First question: Can a diagnosis of a coma happen immediately? Like, I'm going to have Chase sit in the dean's office and then maybe some time passes and the nurse could call and inform the dean that Kyle is now stated to be in a coma. !

Chase is going to be arrested for assault and hauled off in handcuffs by the cops. (in this state, anyway)


Second question: Is it expected for Kyle's parents to sue or can they choose not to? !
They'll sue the school for negligently having a seat with a chunk of dangerous material sticking out.

Not sue Chase, because Chase has no money, and Chase's butt is in jail on assault charges

KarlaErikaCal
12-05-2009, 03:48 AM
I have more questions... if Kyle and Chase are both under 18... I'm guessing Chase does not go to jail, right since he's not an adult? And if Kyle wakes up from the coma after a week, is Chase okay from any charges after that?

jclarkdawe
12-05-2009, 04:18 AM
I have more questions... if Kyle and Chase are both under 18... I'm guessing Chase does not go to jail, right since he's not an adult? Age of majority in many states for adult in criminal matters is 17. And even if he was a minor, he would be sent to juvenile detention, which is just J*A*I*L spelled differently. It has locked doors, cells, guards, razor wire, so on and so forth. You need to find out how the state in which this is happening deals with this type of crime. Varies a lot. California and Texas have little tolerance for youthful offenders. Arkansas has a pretty liberal system, from my understanding.

No way would Chase be going home. As Tsu said, distinct possibility Kyle is brain dead, or minimally responsive. People with things in their head that don't have permanent damage end up in the news.

And if Kyle wakes up from the coma after a week, is Chase okay from any charges after that? No. He committed an assault. And the prosecutor is going to describe it starting with "vicious" and go on from there. If Kyle and his parents are not bent out of shape (unlikely), if Kyle is fine, if Chase has no history of criminal activity, I can get a couple of recommendations from his teachers, and the prosecutor and judge are in a really, really good mood, I might get for a plea of guilty a suspended 5 to 10 at the NH State Prison, with five years probation. I'd be happy with a year in jail and five years probation. I'd expect the best I could do to be a one to five at the State Prison.

You've got a life-threatening injury here. The fact that Chase didn't mean for it to be this serious doesn't matter. A lot of murders are not intended to result in a dead body. You still end up in jail.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

KarlaErikaCal
12-05-2009, 04:44 AM
Thanks Jim. With that info, I am going to avoid this scenario in my WIP. Way too complicated and it doesn't work with the kind of ending I have in mind. Thanks so much for all the responses!

jclarkdawe
12-05-2009, 04:50 AM
Just have Kyle pushed down to the floor with no injuries. That way it would stay in school.

It's the injuries that are sending this over the top.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

JulieHowe
12-05-2009, 04:57 AM
I have more questions... if Kyle and Chase are both under 18... I'm guessing Chase does not go to jail, right since he's not an adult? And if Kyle wakes up from the coma after a week, is Chase okay from any charges after that?

Oh no. He goes straight to jail or juvenile hall. In California, the minimum age for adult prosecution is 14, but after being interrogated/interviewed at the nearest police station, the suspect under the age of eighteen would almost always be sent to juvenile hall until the prosecutor decides whether or not to file charges in adult/juvenile court. There's a special court hearing to determine if the suspect is going to be charged as a juvenile or an adult, and after this hearing, the suspect charged as an adult would be remanded to adult jail pending the outcome of the trial. Correction: The criminal case will be remanded to adult court but most of the time, the under-18 suspect stays in juvenile hall until the end of the trial. The Los Angeles County Jail system also has a special lock-up for underage defendants awaiting adult trials who are deemed too dangerous to house in juvenile hall. Juveniles convicted of adult crimes and sentenced to a year in County Jail (not crimes worthy of going to state prison) can be housed there too.


If Chase lives, and Kyle doesn't have a criminal history, the DA might be willing to accept a guilty plea in juvenile court (we call it something other than guilty/not guilty, but I won't bore you with the details) to a lesser charge, but he would still face some kind of a criminal charge.

If Chase dies or isn't expected to recover, then Kyle's in a world of hurt. In California, if he's 16 or older, he'll most likely be charged as an adult. If he's 14-16, he might be charged as an adult, but is more likely to be charged as a juvenile, especially if the crime wasn't intentional, and presuming he has no prior criminal history. Charged as a juvenile under these circumstances, he could be remanded to the California Youth Authority until his twenty-fifth birthday. Dante's hell is a better place than a CYA facility, especially since the educational, vocational and drug rehabilitation funding has been virtually eliminated.

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-05-2009, 05:04 AM
Thanks Jim. With that info, I am going to avoid this scenario in my WIP. Way too complicated and it doesn't work with the kind of ending I have in mind. Thanks so much for all the responses!

What does the plot require?

Tell us that and we'll figure out what Kyle can do to Chase.

KarlaErikaCal
12-05-2009, 05:21 AM
The plot requires Chase to realize that he can't fight anymore, so by injuring Kyle, I thought that maybe he'd finally say, "I can't fight anymore. I can't." Or something like that. I was planning on a scene when Kyle comes out of the hospital where the four of my main characters come together to try to move on from the events of this year. They were all entangled in a love square and there had been a lot of drama between them by the climactic moment.

Parametric
12-05-2009, 05:42 AM
The plot requires Chase to realize that he can't fight anymore, so by injuring Kyle, I thought that maybe he'd finally say, "I can't fight anymore. I can't." Or something like that. I was planning on a scene when Kyle comes out of the hospital where the four of my main characters come together to try to move on from the events of this year. They were all entangled in a love square and there had been a lot of drama between them by the climactic moment.

Would it be effective if Chase was merely tempted to seriously hurt Kyle? Like, he picks up something heavy to smash Kyle's skull in - and finally realises that he's gone too far.

jclarkdawe
12-05-2009, 05:50 AM
Okay, the two boys start pushing and shoving in the cafeteria. Teacher is heading over to break them up. Chase pushes Kyle, who trips and falls, scraping his head against the side of a table, producing a long cut to the scalp. It will bleed. A lot.

Kyle is sitting on the floor, blood dripping all over the place. Chase is so disturbed by all the blood that he faints. School nurse is called, as well as 9-1-1. No one is going to be quite sure what the hell happened.

Both boys are transported to the hospital (probably in separate ambulances). Both are conscious by the time the rescue arrives. Police talk with teacher who observed it, who says it looks like both of them were fighting. Police then go to hospital where they talk to both boys, who's stories are even less coherent than the teacher's. (Very probable.)

Both boys are fine, with Kyle receiving a crapload of stitches. Chase is released first from the hospital, and waits for Kyle. Remember that the last Chase saw of Kyle is a bloody mess. Kyle will still be covered in blood, and have a very funky haircut.

Police threaten both boys with disorderly conduct, as they can't figure out who started what, but decide they've learned their lessons and decide to not prosecute.

That work for you?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

KarlaErikaCal
12-05-2009, 06:19 AM
That's brilliant, Jim! I really like it. Thanks!