My son broke his arm on the playground at church pre-school...

by Kert
(Chantilly, VA)

My son is 4 yrs old and yesterday he went to this church pre-school in our community for a few hours. He usually doesn't sleep after coming home, but yesterday was different. He took a nap right after school and started complaining about his left arm.

We read the note sent home with him from the preschool. It said "your child hurt himself at the playground and we do not know what happened. He still complains of pain." This was from the teacher. My aunt went to pick him up and they handed this note to her, as he doesn't know English.

We were not sure where or how he got hurt after reading that note. We examined his whole body for any kind of bruising or bleeding. Except for his arm, everything seemed fine.

My husband took him to the pediatrician on the same day and got the last appointment, but they didn't treat him after examining his arm. They sent us to the ER. After a long wait of 3 hrs, the doctors took the x-ray of his arm and told us that 2 bones were broken.

Meanwhile I tried reaching the school to understand what happened. After a couple of calls the teacher reached out to me and said my son didn't complain of any big pain so they didn't have a reason to call us (that's the reason they sent a note instead). I called her back to let her know he broke his bones without showing any pain.

They haven't called me to check on him. I called them back to let them know that he would not be coming back. The director supported her teacher's action of not calling the parent. What can I do? Is the daycare responsible for the medical bills? Were they wrong not to call and/or send our son to the hospital? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "My son broke his arm on the playground at church pre-school...":

Kert (Chantilly, VA):

Broken bones produce terrific pain. It is hard to understand how the school teacher or school administrators didn't notice your son’s extreme pain.

There are three (3) basic issues involved:

Unavoidable Injuries

School yard injuries are common. In most cases, schoolyard injuries occur spontaneously and without malice aforethought, or negligence. School injuries often result from running, jumping, pushing, or other relatively innocuous acts. While school children are normally supervised, when school teachers or administrators do everything within reason to keep students from harm, the school district is normally not liable.


In the alternative, when school teachers and administrators fail to do everything within reason to provide a safe environment for their students, including failing to properly supervise students, and as a result of that failure a student is injured, the school district may become liable. The liability results from the negligence of the school to properly supervise the student.

Post Injury Action or Omission

When a student is injured while at school and that injury was unavoidable, or occurred while under proper supervision, a school district may not be liable. However, once an injury to a student occurs, a school has a legal duty to take whatever action is reasonable to protect the student, including transporting the student to a physician, medical clinic, or hospital.

It would also be reasonable to place a duty upon the school administration to concurrently notify the student’s parents.

If it can be showed the school teacher or school administrator knew, or should have known your son was in pain, and failed to transport him for medical treatment, the school district may be responsible for your son’s medical bills, and costs related to his care and treatment.

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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