My Child Was Injured at School, Who is Liable?

safetyIf your child has been injured at school, you may be wondering who is at fault.

A child being injured at school is a common occurrence; in fact, of the 14 million child injures that happen annually throughout the country, more than one quarter of them happen in school or during a school-related activity.

On the one hand, this is to be expected since children spend such a large percentage of their time at school. Still, a parent will still want to know if someone should be blamed for their child’s injury, or who is responsible in the eyes of law. Whether or not legal action should be taken depends on the variables of each situation.

The first thing you will want to figure out is if the injury was intentional or a result of negligence. An intentional tort is when an act committed by one party causes harm to another. In a school-related injury, an intentional tort could be committed by a child or an adult, such as a child bullying another student, or a school employee abusing a student.

If the child was injured intentionally by another child, then that child’s parents could be held responsible, depending on the circumstances of the bullying. In addition, the school could be liable for doing nothing to stop the harassment, if the school had reason to know the bullying happened.

The school may also be liable if an employee harmed the child. The school district could be at fault for failing to do a thorough background check or proper employee training.

A lot of instances of intentional tort also qualify for negligence. Negligence is when a party fails to act with reasonable care. For a school to act with reasonable care, they are obligated to provide a safe environment for the child, including food, shelter, and transportation. If the child was injured because of an “accident,” or the school failed to meet the standards of care for the child, then the school could be liable for negligence.

Here are a few examples that might render the school legal liability for negligence:

  • A school bus accident involving a negligent driver, or a driver improperly trained by the school district
  • A school bus accident involving a malfunctioning vehicle or poorly designed bus
  • A playground injury involving a lack or supervision
  • A playground injury involving defective or improperly maintained playground equipment
  • Food poisoning resulting from tainted food from the manufacturer
  • Food poisoning resulting from improper or unsanitary preparation by school employees
  • A slip and fall on school property due to improperly maintained handrails or other parts of school property
  • a slip and fall from ice or snow, due to the school’s failure to clear sidewalks
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Injury from natural disaster due to improper emergency response techniques

A public school is considered an entity of the government under state law. This means that, if youwant to file a claim and injury or lawsuit over an incident, there are strict and specific procedures to follow. For more detailed information, have your attorney help you examine the state legislature on the topic.


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