Visitor Question

School didn’t send my son for treatment for broken wrist?

Submitted By: Autumn (Kent, WA)

On Wednesday on son was playing tether ball at school during recess. He hit his wrist on the pole when he tried hitting the ball. The pole was not padded. An office person ran him through some basic tests to determine if he had a broken bone. She came to the conclusion that it was not broken, provided him with ice and sent him back to class.

He then returned to the office needing more ice because he was in pain and his wrist was swelling, in addition he was having bruising. I received two phone calls from the school and they left two voicemails, since I was at work unable to answer my cell phone. But the school did not contact anyone else on my list.

I later took him to urgent care to find out that he has a buckle fracture. All of his expenses are paid for in full since he has state medical coverage. Should I file a claim against his school? What can be done about their negligence in not diagnosing the injury or sending him for treatment? 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.

Answer

Dear Autumn,

According to the Mayo Clinic, “A greenstick fracture (buckle fracture) occurs when a bone bends and cracks, instead of breaking completely into separate pieces. The fracture looks similar to what happens when you try to break a small, “green” branch on a tree. Most greenstick fractures occur in children younger than 10 years of age.”

From the facts you present, your son’s injury was initially “diagnosed” by a person with no medical training. Moreover it appears there was a list of people who should have been contacted in the event of injury to your son. After being unable to reach you, it appears the school employee responsible for contacting you also failed to contact anyone else in the list of emergency contacts you supplied.

While the school appears to have acted inappropriately, perhaps even negligently, their omission did not rise to the level of gross negligence or a wanton disregard for the safety and well being of your son.

An example of gross negligence or a wanton disregard for safety in a similar situation might be a school employee seeing a fractured bone protruding and with that knowledge, failed to seek immediate medical attention for the student. Or if a student was injured and lost consciousness and a school employee told the injured student to sleep, and failed to contact the student’s parents or to call 911.

In the situation you presented, the omission by the school employee constituted mere negligence. While negligence is apparent, that negligence in and of itself does not rise to a level wherein the child would have to pay additional compensation. However, you should have a local injury attorney review the facts more closely.

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: September 30, 2016

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