Visitor Question

Broken bone on school playground?

Submitted By: Emily (Columbus, Wisconsin)

My 6-yr old daughter attends summer school and they have the kids in the middle school building. The kids have recess after lunch (which is never mentioned in the schedule).

She went on the monkey bar (that’s meant for middle schoolers), realizing she wasn’t tall enough to reach the first bar and lost balance and fell to the ground. She ended up with both bones broken in her wrist.

When the school called they made it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. Then I called back and questioned some more, they finally admitted it could be broken bones. They were fine waiting for an hour for me to get there from work until I insisted they call an ambulance and take her to the ER.

Her condition was so severe the ER had to transfer her to the children’s hospital. Now, do we have a case?

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 Emily,

Schools are imbued with a legal duty to do everything within reason to assure students will be protected from undue harm and injury. When a school, by itself or by the act of one or more of its teachers, fails in its duty, the school district may be liable for injuries sustained by a student.

The following general principles apply:

  • Teachers must take reasonable care to ensure their students do not meet with foreseeable injury. They have a duty to protect the children against foreseeable risks of personal injury or harm.
  • The standard of care is that of a reasonably prudent parent. The degree of care depends on such factors as the age of the students.
  • There must be an effective system of supervision in operation in the school.
  • The duty of care applies while the students are on the school premises during school opening hours. It may also apply if the students are present outside of official school hours.

When the school district fails in its duty to protect a student, the school district be liable for the student’s injuries and resulting damages, including medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses,  lost wages (of a parent who must take time off from work to care for the child), and for the child’s pain and suffering.

To prevail in an injury claim against the school district will require you to meet the standards of negligence set out above.

Because of the serious nature of your child’s injuries, and the apparent showing of school negligence, your daughter’s best interest will be best-served by seeking the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney in your area.

Learn more here: Playground Injury Claims

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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