Accident at School

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Q: My daughter was in first grade, participating in a physical education class.  The teacher had set up seven activities spread out throughout the gymnasium.  All the activities were occurring simultaneously.  Two of these activities, rope climbing and balance board, required more supervision than the others.

My daughter has no memory of what caused her accident.  One of the students says that she fell from the balance board, and that my daughter had struggled to maintain her balance and even fallen twice before this tragedy.  Another says that a student ran into my daughter, elsewhere, knocking her to the ground.  The teacher became aware of my daughter’s accident only upon being notified.

A: A school is not an insurer of its students’ safety, but it does have a duty to exercise the same degree of care toward its students as would a ‘reasonably prudent parent’.  The school can be held liable only for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision.

If the accident was caused by a fellow student, then seemingly your case is more difficult: when a fellow student is involved, it must be established that his or her ‘third-party’ acts could reasonably have been anticipated.  School personnel cannot reasonably be expected to guard against all of the sudden, spontaneous acts that take place among students daily. An injury caused by the impulsive, unanticipated act of a fellow student ordinarily will not give rise to a finding of negligence – unless prior conduct should have put the school on notice to protect against the injury-causing act.  Your attorney will try very hard to pinpoint the cause.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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