There are thousands of videos circling around the internet of people taping others being pranked. There are TV shows that exist solely for the reason of showing these video clips to the masses. Pranking has had a recent surge due to the fact that many are looking for their 5 minutes of fame on the internet with views, or even bigger to have their video featured on a national tv show. Though the pranks are meant to be fun, many don’t think about the consequences of a prank that can turn sour in a matter of a few seconds.
The video above depicts a woman on her phone walking in her home with a bag of groceries. A camera is recording in a likely hidden place so she won’t notice. Behind a wall is a man with glasses and a bandana over his face to conceal his identity. As soon as the woman gets off her phone, she turns around to someone she “doesn’t” know. she screams, running out of the house and down the drive way, while the camera-man follows behind her while laughing….the woman then runs into the street and is hit by a vehicle. (Of note, information at the conclusion tells us that this is not real. Thank God.)
How does a harmless prank go horribly wrong so quickly? Who’s to blame for the woman getting hit by the vehicle? Can there be liability against the pranksters? Who would pay?
The likely answer here is that YES, the pranksters can be held liable. Although intended as “fun”, it is reasonably foreseeable that the person being pranked may have such a reaction, and may do something that results in injury to himself/herself or others. Under that circumstance, the pranksters have to think about their actions and the potential results.
Most likely, no one intends that injuries result from a prank. As such, any injuries that occur could be considered “accidental”. If true, then it is highly probable that a prankster’s homeowner’s or renter’s coverage will apply, and provide insurance coverage for the harm that occurs.
Hopefully, these stay “fun”. However, if not, there may well be recourse against the pranksters.
Just be careful.