My child has broken bones twice at school and I wasn't even called?

by Mike
(Calabasas, CA)

Last year my daughter, 5 years old in kindergarten, was lifting weights for gym class (which I thought was a little ridiculous when I found out), when she smashed her finger between two weights. She went to the nurse's office and was given ice and sent back to class.

I saw her at her lunchtime when I was picking my younger son up from preschool and I could tell there was something wrong. I thought her and her friends were fighting. When I picked her up the first thing I did was ask her what was wrong, she was still obviously upset, and she said her finger hurt.

She then told me what happened and after looking at her finger, seeing the obvious swelling, and judging by how much pain she was in, my wife took her to the hospital. The hospital staff determined her finger was broken.

Well, last Friday, my daughter, now 6 years old and in first grade, fell off the monkey bars and hurt her wrist. She immediately went to the nurse and the nurse said she was going to be fine and asked her if she wanted some ice. My daughter said yes, then was forced to sit in class for the rest of the day in pain.

As before, I was not called, and as soon as I picked my daughter up I knew something was wrong. And yep, she had a broken wrist. This is the second time my daughter has had a serious injury and I was not even notified! The thought of my daughter sitting through class in the pain of having a broken bone has got me near my breaking point.

I complained that I was not notified last year, and for it to happen again a year later is unforgivable. What should I do? What action can I take against the school? Can I file a lawsuit for this incident and their negligence (for both incidents)? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "My child has broken bones twice at school and I wasn't even called?":

Mike (Calabasas, CA):

While your frustration is certainly understandable, filing a lawsuit is probably not the solution. To sue the school would require legal representation by an experienced personal injury attorney. While no one would doubt the pain your daughter suffered on both occasions, you will likely have a difficult time finding an attorney to accept the case.

There just isn't enough money in the case to make it worthwhile for an attorney. This is especially true as personal injury attorneys don't receive a fee until and unless they settle a client's case, or win it at trial.

The issue of negligence resulting in your daughter's injury is arguable. An injury from the weights resulted in a fractured finger. If the weights had been used for an extended period of time with no injuries to other children, then your child's injury could be considered an aberration.

While having 5 year old children lift weights is questionable, if the weights were light enough for a 5 year old to lift, then there is an absence of school negligence.

The second scenario involves your daughter having fallen from monkey bars. Monkey bars have been on children's school playgrounds for over 50 years. In most cases monkey bars help in the development of muscles, tendons and ligaments. They are there for fun and exercise. Your daughter's fall was unfortunate, but children fall all the time from monkey bars; most without being injured.

Whether or not the school's failure to notify you in a timely manner of your daughter's injuries constitutes actionable negligence is questionable. If your daughter truly had a fractured wrist she would not have been able to sit through class. The pain from the fracture would likely have been excruciating.

If you would like to file a complaint against the school and/or staff, you can do so at the state of California's Dept. of Education website.

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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