Liability When Your Child is Injured at School


A large percentage of adult injuries occur at work because workers spend so much time at work during the week. Well, the same goes for children. Considering how much time children spend in school, usually about six or seven hours a day Monday through Friday, it’s understandable why millions of children are injured on school grounds every year.

If your child was injured at school or on school grounds during the school day, it’s only natural for you to wonder about legal liability. After all, if your child was injured on another person’s property, whether it was residential or commercial, the property owner could be on the hook for your child’s damages, so why would a public or private school be any different?

The First Question Asked

Suppose your child was injured at school and you came to my firm asking if you have grounds for a personal injury claim against your child’s school. My first question to you would be, “Was the act negligent or intentional?” The answer to this question will help determine liability.

If it was an intentional act, it would be called an “intentional tort.” A good example of an intentional tort is bullying. Let’s say a bully didn’t like your child for some reason or another and the bully beat your child up in the school locker room. The school may be liable for your child’s injuries depending on the circumstances of the bullying. For example, if your child had previously complained about the bully and the school failed to take measures to stop the harassment, the school may be found liable.

If the offender was a school employee who lost his temper and assaulted your teenager on campus, again, the school may be liable. Perhaps the school failed to perform a background check or the school failed to take corrective action in the past when the teacher got physical with other students. Or, the school may be liable if they failed to properly train the teacher.

When the School is Negligent

When your child is at school, the school is responsible to feed them, shelter them, provide transportation, provide emergency care when needed, and keep them safe. If a school fails in this duty and a child is injured as a result, the school can be found to be negligent.

Negligence can stem from:

  • Lack of adequate supervision on behalf of a teacher or other staff member
  • Dangerous and defective playground equipment
  • Food poisoning from tainted or improperly prepared food
  • A slip and fall injury due to poorly maintained grounds
  • Asbestos or lead exposure

Does your child go to a public or private school? Public schools are government entities, which means very strict procedures must be followed if you bring a personal injury lawsuit. Private schools, on the other hand, are generally handled like any other personal injury suit.

To learn more about filing a personal injury claim against a school, contact my firm for a free consultation at (720) 809-8262.