Broken wrist for my 7 year old on the school playground...

by Renita
(Chicago, IL)

I received a phone call around 12pm from a teacher from the school staying that my daughter fell on the playground during recess. He said that she was crying. I asked him if it was broken and he said no, she can move her fingers. I said that really doesn't mean it's not broken.

I arrived at the school and she was crying, saying it hurts bad and showed that it was swollen. I took her immediately to the ER and they asked her what happened. She said her and a boy in her class "were supposed to race but instead he ran in front, making her fall and he didn't say he was sorry, boys never say they're sorry."

The X-ray showed it was broken - a fracture in her left wrist. They put a soft cast on her arm and two days later she went to an orthopedic doctor. They questioned her again and put a hard pink cast on her arm.

Is the school responsible for this? Can I file a law suit for negligence? How can I have her medical bills covered? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Broken wrist for my 7 year old on the school playground...":

Renita (Chicago, IL):

School districts and the schools within their supervision must take all reasonable care to protect their students from undue harm and injury.

Liability of a school district and school is based on whether or not school employees failed to exercise reasonable care in protecting students from undue harm and injury. When reasonable care is not taken, and a student is injured, the school district may be liable for a student's injuries and resulting damages.

Damages can include a student's medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), a parent's lost wages (if the parent had to take time off from work to care for their child), and the student's pain and suffering.

For legal purposes, a failure to exercise reasonable care is referred to as a school district's negligence. Establishing negligence requires the parent to prove:

1. Whether school employees were in a position to supervise the activities of students

2. What reasonable safety measures were in place to protect the students

3. Whether the school knew or should have known there were safety issues which might result in injury to a student

4. With that knowledge, did school employees ignore the safety issues, thereby resulting in a student's injuries

If the parent can prove the above, the school and school district will be found negligent. That negligence must then be proven to be the proximate cause of the student's injury.

In your daughter's case, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of school negligence. The students were running and one fell. It happens all the time. There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way the supervising teacher could have stopped your daughter from falling.

The teacher's failure to recognize the fracture, albeit unfortunate, does not constitute negligence, especially as you apparently picked up your daughter and took her to the emergency room. Nonetheless, it would be wise for you to review the facts of your case with a local attorney.

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,

Judge Calisi

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