If my daughter was accidentally injured in her public school, what legal recourse do we have?

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If my daughter was accidentally injured in her public school, what legal recourse do we have?

My daughter was sitting on the floor in a public school classroom, my daughter sustained trauma to her neck/back from a girl falling on her head, forcing it downward towards her chest. She was transported by ambulance to the hospital where she recieved treatment for a severe ligament strain to her back.I have contacted the school, which has indicated they have no insurance to cover costs for my daughter’s treatment, and said it was up to my medical insurance provider and me to cover the costs of treatment. Since my daughter was sitting minding her own business and was injured by the actions of 2 other students in a classroom setting, is the school correct in it’s stand on this or would the school’s liability insurance need to cover costs?

Asked on October 14, 2014 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the school would be liable, or financially and legally responsible, for the injury. The school is not the insurer of its students; it is only liable when it is at fault in some way. The most common way for a school to be at fault is through "negligent supervision" of the students, or carelessly failing to supervise them correctly and keep them safe.

If the girl who fell on your daughter was obviously doing something dangerous, like "horsing around" a lot before she fell, climbing on the furniture, or something like that, so that the teacher or administrator or aide in the classroom should have seen that there was a risk and stopped what was going on, then the school could be liable for the failure to stop the risky activity. If this was the case, tbhey could be liable for all the medical costs, for example, though if they will not voluntarily pay, you'd need to sue them.

But on the other hand, if the girl just tripped or fell without warning, which certainly does happen, the school would not be at fault, because they did nothing wrong: no person, school, or other institution is required by the law to stop all accidents, because that is impossible. So if there was no reason for the school to have stepped in before the accident occured, there would be no liabilty.


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