TikTok’s ‘Skull Breaker’ Challenge: Unsafe as it Sound

TikTok Skull Breaker Challenge

The dangerous and possibly fatal stunt began in Spain and has spread worldwide. Already, several U.S. children have sustained permanent injuries while partaking in the challenge.

In the Rompecráneos (skull cracker) stunt, three children stand in a line.

When all three jump simultaneously, the two outside children kick to the inside, causing the middle child to fall on his/her head.

The prank spread first to India and the UAE, and now to America, through the social media app TikTok.

A spokesperson said that the company is taking steps to limit the skull breaker challenge.

“As we make clear in our Community Guidelines, we do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury, and we remove reported behavior or activity that violates our guidelines.

To help keep our platform safe, we have introduced a slate of safety features geared towards enhancing our users’ experience, including tools for reporting inappropriate content and for managing privacy settings.”

Several doctors opined that the skull breaker challenge could cause permanent head injuries, including concussions.

However, it is popular among children and teens because of the “wow factor,” according to psychologist Sabrina Sykes.

Diagnosing and Treating Head Injuries

Brain injuries are incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat. Additionally, head injuries are permanent.

Once brain cells die, they never regenerate.

Have you ever noticed that concussed athletes often ask their coaches to put them back in the game because they “feel fine”?

These athletes are usually being honest. The brain is very adept at concealing its own injuries.

These athletes, and other head injury victims, often say the same things to doctors.

Apropos of nothing, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder victims exhibit this same quality.

Even after they experience triggering events, they often tell friends and family members that they “feel fine” and there is nothing to worry about.

Further complicating diagnosis issues, not all head injury victims experience signature symptoms, like complete unconsciousness and severe nausea/vomiting.

Many victims experience symptoms which are commonly associated with shock or stress. As a result, their undiagnosed head injuries degenerate further.

As mentioned, brain injuries are incurable. But they are treatable.

However, brain injury physical therapy is nothing like broken bone or other physical therapy.

Brain injury therapists must train uninjured parts of the brain to assume lost functions.

The process is long and frustrating, for doctors and victims alike.

Altogether, head injury medical bills often exceed $100,000. Parents of young children are often hard-pressed to pay these expenses.

Fortunately, legal compensation might be available, as outlined below.

Liability Issues

Many skull breaker challenge injuries occur in schools.

The challenge itself may be a dare or childish prank. But in many cases, the school district could be legally responsible for damages.

Legally, public school students are invitees.

They obviously have permission to be at the school, even before or after class begins or ends.

Additionally, the state pays the school district when the child attends class. Private or charter school students are invitees for basically the same reasons.

This designation is significant because landowners have a very high duty of care in these situations.

They must take steps to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe.

This duty applies in other situations as well.

Some examples include fall injuries, swimming pool drownings, and dog bites.

So, whenever invitees are injured, New York personal injury attorneys usually look to owners for compensation.

Theoretical duty is not enough. The owner must also know about the hazard. Additionally, the injury must be foreseeable.

Knowledge can be either actual or constructive (should have known).

Direct evidence of actual knowledge includes things like property inspection reports.

Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge usually involves the time-notice rule.

The longer the hazard existed, the more likely constructive knowledge becomes.

The victim/plaintiff must prove knowledge in court, but only by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s the lowest standard of proof in New York law.

“Foreseeable” does not mean “inevitable” or even “likely.” It basically means “within the realm of possibility.” In challenge cases, evidence of foreseeability includes things like:

  • A student’s pre-challenge social media posts,
  • Previous similar events at the location itself, and
  • Other similar occurrences in the same general area.

These same elements of proof apply in assault and other intentional torts which occur on someone else’s property.

Damages in a challenge or other injury case usually include compensation for economic losses, sucha s the aforementioned medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Skull and head injuries are among the most catastrophic wounds a child can sustain.

For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Queens County and nearby jurisdictions.