Visitor Question

My daughter suffered cracked vertebrae in gym class…

Submitted By: Susan (Bellows Falls, VT)

My daughter was injured in gym class at her school. She was instructed to run and jump over piles of folded up mats. The students ahead of her had kicked the mats as they were jumping over them and caused parts to stick out.

There was no “spotter” to fix the mats before the next student jumped over them. My daughter caught her foot and fell causing a cracked vertebrae. The school had prior knowledge that this activity had caused multiple injuries to other students, but still continues to do activity. My daughter now has a permanent painful injury.

What can be done about this negligence? My daughter will likely have pain for a very long time, perhaps her entire life due to this injury. Can I file a lawsuit against the school?

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 Susan,

Before considering a lawsuit your daughter’s injuries will have to be documented by a doctor. Without medical bills or some other form of medical documentation, any claim against the school would most likely fail. If you haven’t taken your daughter to see a doctor, you should do so immediately, especially if you believe the injury to be serious.

Hopefully at or about the time of the injury the gym teacher or any other third party contacted the school’s administration. Your claim against the school will be strengthened if a form of “Incident Report” was generated.

Ask the school’s administrator to give you a copy of the report. If she will not agree to do so there is another way to get it…

If such a report was created and a copy has been placed in your daughter’s school file you should be able to get a copy of it.

Be sure not to sign any type of “Release Form” the school’s administration might ask you or your daughter to sign. If you intend to pursue a claim it would be a good idea to instruct your daughter not to discuss the incident with her friends or teachers until after speaking with an attorney.

Although you can pursue a claim against the school independently, you can also seek counsel from an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation. There are personal injury attorneys whose practices concentrate on School Law. You would be well-advised to find one who does.

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 6, 2012

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