4 year old fell from monkey bars...
According to the accident report the children were given a verbal warning to remove mittens prior to playing on monkey bars. My daughter had mittens on, went to grab the monkey bars, and fell with her zipper going into her chin.
The supervising teacher was on the other side of the playground equipment watching children go down the slide. I'm waiting to see video to see where the teacher actually was. Also, they have a stool positioned near the monkey bars so the children can grab a hold of the bars, which seems very unsafe.
I received a call at work that my daughter may need stitches and left work to pick her up and take her to the ER. I spent $150.00 at the ER and lost a little over a half a day at work.
Do I have any recourse? What are our legal options? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "4 year old fell from monkey bars...":
Rebecca (Hatboro, PA):
Because the children were wearing mittens, we will presume the weather was cold.
It is difficult to know what other command would have been appropriate other than telling the children to remove their items before playing on the monkey bars. Your child chose not to. As a direct result, she was unable to grasp and hold on to the monkey bars.
School districts and their teachers have a legal duty of care to assure students are not unduly harmed or injured. While school districts are responsible for the actions of their teachers which result in injuries to students, that responsibility is not absolute. Instead, the duty of care includes the school district and its teachers taking all actions which are "reasonable" under the circumstances.
Here are two examples:
1) An elementary school had a gate through which persons must pass to access school grounds. To get through to the gate required entering a short code. The code was given to the parents of students. In this case, the gate locking system wasn't functioning. The school knew it wasn't functioning but delayed for over a week to have it repaired.
One day, while the gate was still not functioning an adult who was not a parent of a student, opened the gate and walked right through it. Once inside, the person assaulted a student, seriously injuring her.
In this case the school district would very likely be held liable for the student's injuries along with the related costs of medical treatment. The school was aware the gate was not functioning and failed to take immediate action to have it repaired. Having the gate promptly repaired would have been reasonable. Not having it repaired was negligent.
2) An elementary student was out on the playground on school property. The teacher was there supervising the students as they played. While playing, one student began to chase another student. The teacher saw the two students and immediately told them to stop running. However, within an instant, the student being chased fell, fracturing her ankle.
In this case, the school district would likely not be liable for the student's injuries. The teacher appeared to be properly supervising the students. As soon as the teacher saw the students running she called out "Stop running."
There was nothing more the teacher could have done, which would have been reasonable under the circumstances, to stop the student from being injured. As a result, the school district would likely not be liable for the student's injuries and resulting costs.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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