Visitor Question

Boy stepped on my nephew’s leg during recess and broke his femur?

Submitted By: Pat (Utah)

My nephew was at recess on the playground playing soccer when he was tripped by another student and fell to the ground. After he had fallen, the boy then proceeded to step on his leg.

My nephew could not get up and was carried to the nurse’s office when my sister then was called and came to the school.

My nephew was in terrible pain and my sister drove him to the ER.

He had a broken femur and needed emergency surgery, where a rod and screws were inserted.

The school never contacted my sister through all of this.

My sister is the one who made all initial contact concerning this matter.

The other student was never questioned about my nephew’s injury, and we’re still not clear if his parents were contacted.

Is my sister responsible for all my nephew’s medical bills, or can she get the school to pay? What about the other boy’s parents if he acted maliciously? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Pat,

The answer to both questions is, “It depends.” In most cases, school districts are not liable for injuries to students during the normal course of a school day. This normally includes recess. But there are some exceptions…

If the school district had in place rules for the number and type of supervision students must have during recess, and the school failed to comply with those rules, and as a result a student was injured, then the school district would likely be liable.

If a student was known to be malicious or overly aggressive towards other students, and the school failed to either remove the student or take steps to prevent the student from acting out his aggression, and as result a student was injured, then the school district may be liable.

Moreover, if your nephew’s parents have evidence the boy acted maliciously then the boy’s parents would likely be liable for the actions of their son.

Because of the seriousness of your nephew’s injuries and the likely high costs of medical bills, your nephew’s parents would benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney immediately. Most personal injury attorneys will not charge for initial office consultations.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 18, 2014

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