When you send your child off to school, it is with the expectation that they will spend the day learning and playing in an enriching, supervised environment. That is, after all, what school is meant to be. If the staff at school neglects to properly watch over their students, the school can be held accountable for any injuries those children sustain.
Recently, an Iowa student and his classmates were left unsupervised during a gym class and began roughhousing, as children do. They took it too far; another student put the boy in a chokehold until he lost consciousness, and then dropped the boy on his head. The result is a lifelong brain injury with an unknown number of ramifications and thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
The parents are rightfully suing the school for negligence, because had a teacher been present, maybe their son would not have brain damage.
Holding schools accountable for a child’s injuries
Schools owe their students a duty of care. This means they are required to provide a learning environment that is safe, and if the school does not take the proper care to observe a student and the student is injured, the school may have acted negligently. In this case, the school failed to supervise the children (negligent supervision): the children should have been supervised during play but weren’t. If a specific teacher or staff member was assigned to supervise the students but failed to do so, then that adult could also be held liable. So can the school district.
Aside from negligent supervision in a gym class, a school, teacher, and/or district may also be held liable for student’s injuries sustained:
- While using playground equipment during recess or after school hours;
- On school buses or other school vehicles;
- Caused by defective safety equipment (such as floor mats);
- From dangerous conditions (like unmarked wet floors, falling ceiling tiles, etc.);
- From acts of violence by students, teachers, staff, or visitors;
- From sexual assaults; and
- While on a school trip or field trip
In some cases, a school may also be held liable for acts of cyberbullying.
If your child sustains an injury while at school or at a school-sanctioned event, you can file a lawsuit to claim damages. The compensation should pay for any and all medical expenses (including rehabilitation, special accommodations to the home, and any ongoing medical care), as well as your lost wages and your child’s loss of future income potential. In Arizona, you may also claim damages for pain and suffering. If your child dies as a result of the injuries, you may also claim damages for funeral and burial expenses.
Your children are everything to you. When their lives are needlessly put at risk due to the negligence of those meant to keep them safe, you deserve justice and peace of mind. At Plattner Verderame, PC, our skilled and compassionate personal injury attorneys understand that and will work tirelessly to win you the maximum amount possible. We have offices in both Phoenix and Tempe for your convenience and are always available to answer your questions by phone or email. Call us today at 602-266-2002 or fill out our contact form and let us put your fears to rest.
Nick is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Association for Justice (formerly the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). He currently serves on the AAJ’s Political Action Task Force and its Oversight Committee, and on the Board of Governors for Revitalization in Arizona.
Read more about Nick Verderame