Visitor Question

Daughter’s Teeth Broken in Gym Class…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My 8 year old daughter was playing a game in her school’s gym in her physical education class. She was on a scooter on her stomach when she fell face first and broke her top two front teeth. I was told by staff it was just a chip but when I got there and saw her teeth it was much worse.

One tooth was almost all the way gone and the other was half way gone (the little bit that’s left is very sharp and pointy). The broken tooth is scarring her bottom lip and she’s been in a lot of pain.

I asked the teacher what happened and she said she didn’t know because she didn’t see it happen. Do I have a personal injury case against the school and the teacher? Thanks.

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.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You may have a legal claim against the school and the teacher, but to do so you will have to prove the staff at the school acted negligently. From the facts you present there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of negligence.

Injuries at school happen all the time. Many are unavoidable and don’t include negligence of the teachers or other school staff.

Although the school’s staff and the school itself have a “duty of care” toward your daughter and the other students, that duty must be weighed against the circumstances which precipitated your daughter’s injury.

If your daughter was riding the scooter and doing so was part of the curriculum of the school, you would have to measure her injuries by the number of other similar injuries suffered by other students.

In other words, if the school had been allowing their students to ride scooters, whether upright or on their stomachs for a long time, and during that time very few or no children were injured seriously, the school would have a relatively strong defense.

If there was no reason to believe riding the scooter on her stomach posed a danger to your daughter then your case would not be very strong.

On the other hand, if the staff saw your daughter riding on her stomach on the scooter and failed to stop her from doing so you might have the beginnings of a case. Even then you would have to prove allowing your daughter to ride on her stomach was inherently dangerous.

Then, if you were to make it past that hurdle you would have to be able to prove the staff saw, or should have seen your daughter riding on her stomach and knowing doing so was dangerous, failed to stop her.

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: January 13, 2012

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