We regularly trust the care of our children to others, whether it is a daycare center or school. There is always the risk that our child will be injured while in another’s care. A question that often arises is: who is liable in the case of school accidents? The challenge for many is how many answers there could be to that question. In this article, we’re going to explain when the school might be liable and when they aren’t.
In general, the school is responsible for maintaining the playground equipment so that it is safe for children to play on. If they are negligent in this area, then the liability may be theirs. If someone spots hazards like protruding nails or broken safety caps and the school doesn’t fix it or keep children away from it, the school can be held liable. In many cases, the school remains liable if your child was injured because of something they were doing in the playground because the teachers or other adults were obligated to supervise your child.
The school is almost always are liable for slips and falls and other injuries caused by the condition of the environment. For example, it is the school’s responsibility to salt or sand icy patches, and they’re liable if your child slips and gets hurt in the process.
There are occasions when another child is liable for your child’s injuries. A bully hitting your child in the playground would be a case of an intentional tort, as would an adult who harms a child or student. A bully pushing the child off the playground equipment, causing their injury, is liable for the harm. In some cases, the teacher or school administrators may be liable; this can happen when they didn’t act to stop the bullying.
Teachers are sometimes liable for the injuries of their charges. Teachers are supposed to be aware of the risks for certain activities and the abilities of their students. For example, a teacher who lets a child climb on equipment that isn’t rated for their age or tells the child to climb higher than is safe for them is liable. When there are more children around than the adults could reasonably supervise, then the school administrators may be to blame. We suggest you speak with a law firm specialized in personal injury cases like David R. Heil Law to understand your options in cases like these. You can request a free case review by visiting heil-law.com if you want to get professional assistance on your case.
The Child or Their Parents
A young child isn’t going to be legally responsible for their injuries. A ten-year-old who goes skateboarding where it is prohibited and gets hurt may be responsible for their injuries. In other cases, a child violating safety rules who ends up hurt may have no one to blame but themselves, including in court.
Trespassing could also negate the facility’s liability. For example, parents may learn the school isn’t at fault if their children get hurt after sneaking out of class to play on the playground unsupervised or trespassing on the property when it is officially closed.
Schools are obligated to provide a safe environment, and this explains why they are generally held liable for playground injuries. However, these matters should always be addressed on a case by case basis.
Disclosure: This is a guest post