The Playful Push

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Q: I was a 19-year old student participating in a study-abroad program.  I had limited knowledge of the language and was living in a small town, in an apartment provided by the program.  The program also provided counselors in order to help with medical issues.  They would set up medical appointments for us and would acutally accompany us to the appointments.

Unbeknownst to me, an ex-convict was also enrolled in the program.  His application for the program revealed his record of incarceration.  One day, the other participant playfully pushed me off a cliff.  When physical therapy was prescribed for my injuries, the program refused to arrange for that treatment.  As a result, my recovery was compromised.

A: It seems unlikely that you can obtain a recovery on the basis of the doctrine of in loco parentis: at your age level, a school generally is considered to have no legal duty to shield you from the dangerous activity of other students.

More likely, your attorney will argue that the program’s relationship with you created a duty to provide you with all necessary medical care.  Even if the program did not explicitly agree to do so, it was in the best position to protect against the risk of harm, and the program’s pervasive involvement and control with regard to medical issues gave rise to a duty of care, which sadly was breached.

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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