Visitor Question

Broken Arm Playing Football in Gym Class…

Submitted By: Benjamin (Mableton, GA)

My son told me that they usually play flag football in gym class at school, but this time they were outside playing a football game which ended up being tackle football.

A much bigger kid threw my son down pretty hard and he landed on his knee. Then, after trying to protect himself from the tackle my son put his hand down while being tackled, causing him to brake two bones in his arm.

He said that teachers were not really paying any attention, they were talking among themselves. The teachers never explicitly said it was okay to play tackle football. Do we have any recourse for my son’s injury?

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 Benjamin,

You may have a claim against the school. Although injuries occur all the time in gym classes and on school playgrounds all over the world, there are times when teachers and their schools should be held liable for injuries suffered by their students.

In the case of your son’s injury you would be best served by finding out if tackle football is permitted on school grounds. If there is a strict prohibition against tackle football your son’s case will be strong.

The teachers have a duty and responsibility to their students. If tackle football was prohibited and the teachers stood idly by while your son was injured, your son’s case may be stronger yet.

In the alternative, if there wasn’t a prohibition against tackle football your son’s case may not be as strong. Nevertheless you may still have a claim against the school for the medical expenses you may have incurred on your son’s behalf.

Contact the school administration and tell them you would like to be reimbursed for your son’s injuries. In addition to reimbursement for your son’s medical bills it wouldn’t be inappropriate for you to ask for an additional amount for your out of pocket expenses, such as your son’s prescription and over the counter medications, and any crutches or similar aids. Additionally, if you missed time from work and as a result lost wages, you should ask for that amount as well.

Finally, ask them for an additional amount for your son’s pain and suffering. That amount is a subjective one. A good “rule of thumb” is to multiply your son’s medical bills by at least 3x. That’s a good starting point. You can negotiate from there.

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: November 15, 2011

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