If a child was injured at school and the injuries were the result of improper supervision, you may be able to sue for damages. This depends on the circumstances of the situation.
Can a school be liable for a child’s injuries when there was a lack of supervision?
Schools bear a huge responsibility for their students. This goes beyond teaching academics. They must ensure that students are safe. But that doesn’t mean they are liable for every injury that children suffer under their watch and on their property.
For instance, if a child’s actions are careless or reckless and if supervision wasn’t expected, it would be difficult to fault the school. Let’s say the child skipped class and went into an area of the school that’s off limits and became injured. This could make it difficult holding the school liable for injuries sustained.
Even if the school should have supervised the child, public schools are government entities. In general, people can’t file a claim against a government entity because of government immunity. To circumvent this, evidence must show a dangerous condition existed that the school knew of or should have known of, and did not correct it. Negligent supervision may also be grounds to file a liability claim.
What are some examples in which poor supervision at school is the blame for injuries?
The most common scenario is when injuries occur on the playground. One of the challenges faced in this type of case is proving that it didn’t result from play. Let’s say a child loses his/her grip on the monkey bars, falling and breaking an arm. More than likely, it’s considered normal play and the school may argue it was unavoidable (unless the monkey bars were defective in some way).
Another example is a child climbing a fence, falls, and strikes his/her head on the concrete. It results in a skull fracture, cuts and bruises. If a staff member saw the child climbing the fence but ignored it, school liability might apply.
Bullying is another issue where a lack of supervision might apply. Let’s say in the cafeteria no one is watching the children. If one child bullies and injures another, it’s possible to hold the school liable.
Sometimes the failure to supervise occurs outside the school building. It could be a fieldtrip. Despite not being on school grounds, there is still a responsibility to ensure children are safe. If injuries to a child are a result of negligence, it could lead to legal action.
How do I know if I have a case against the school?
The best way to understand your legal rights is to consult with a lawyer. Even if it’s a private school, complex issues can arise in these types of cases. It’s important to learn about legal options available, which parties can be liable, and the types of damages sought in a claim.
Contact the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz to discuss your case and whether you may have a valid claim against the school. Call us at 303-300-5060 or use our online contact form.