Injury at School Requires Major Dental Work...

by Natasha
(Brooklyn, NY)

My son was playing soccer during physical education at school and was kicked in the mouth by another student. He has braces and suffered tremendous damage to his lower teeth. He had to get the bottom wires off and take antibiotics due to the damage. He will need 4 root canals and 4 crowns in the future because his teeth have no life and will be brittle, fragile and discolored.

I'm not sure how to go about getting compensated for the dental bills or future visits he will need. Is the school liable for the damages or the other student's parents? What should I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Injury at School Requires Major Dental Work...":

Natasha (Brooklyn, NY):

That's a good question. To recover compensation for your son’s injuries you may have to prove the school was negligent in some way, or that the student who injured your son did so maliciously, and with purposeful intent to injure your child.

Many times schools and other institutions which sponsor sports are played are not liable for injuries participants suffer in their venues.

There is a legal point called “Assumption of the Risk”. It is usually reserved for places where participants know they are playing a sport in which injuries may occur. The particpants assume the risk of playing the sport. For example a high school football player who has his teeth knocked out while making a tackle, or his leg broken, can't sue the school.

If those types of lawsuits were allowed, most schools would have to hire a full-time lawyer just to spend time in court defending the school.

The same usually goes for parents of minors. Most parents understand when their child plays a sport, especially soccer, that leg, ankle, and even concussions may occur. If the parents understand that premise and still allow their child to participate, the parent usually assumes the risk.

Now there is a line which can be crossed. If, for instance it can be shown that a participant in a sport acted maliciously against another participant, and as a result seriously injured that participant, the legal premise of assumption of the risk does not apply. Take for instance a professional football player who intentionally hits another player maliciously, and when the player is defenseless.

For your son you would really have to show the student who injured him acted maliciously, or that the school was negligent because they had some prior notice the student who injured your son acted maliciously toward other students before, and they did nothing about it.

Ask the school if they would consider paying the new and future dental bills. Lets hope they will.

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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