Liability when student-teacher is intentionally injured by a student?

by A

I was a student-teacher at an elementary school, and a 5th grade student threw a basketball at my eye. It caused immediate swelling, pain that still bothers me up to this day, and my eye bulged from the swelling for months. I had to go to the doctor numerous times, and I had to have an MRI done to check for structural damage.

I also had to deal with the unsightly appearance of one eye appearing larger than the other. I have witnesses who stated that the student intentionally threw the ball at me when I was not looking because she did not like me. Can I sue the parents for the medical bills, and possibly emotional distress? Do I have any other options? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability when student-teacher is intentionally injured by a student?":

A (USA):

You can arguably sue the parents for your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, bandages, etc.), lost wages (if applicable), and for your pain and suffering. With that said, you will have a very difficult time prevailing in such a lawsuit.

In most cases, parents are liable for the actions and omission of their minor children when those actions or omissions result in property damage or personal injury to others.

The problem you will have is proving the boy intentionally threw the ball at you with the intention to injure you. That will require finding a witness who heard the boy say to them something like "I am now going to throw the ball in the teacher’s face. I want to hurt her."

Otherwise, even if the boy intentionally threw the ball in your face, it can be argued he did so not to intentionally hurt you, but to otherwise get your attention, embarrass you, or for any number of reasons other than for the sole purpose of injuring you.

Moreover, even if you could find one or more children who heard the boy say directly to them that he was about to intentionally throw the ball at you for the purpose of harming you, you can be sure the witnesses’ parents will be hesitant to allow their children to testify in court.

Additionally, you can’t have a witness say he or she heard that the boy intentionally threw the ball to hurt you. That would be hearsay and inadmissible in court. You would need to have a child testify he or she was directly told by the boy that the boy intended to hurt you.

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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