Visitor Question

Compensation for cheerleader injury?

Submitted By: BK (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

This accident happened at school. The personal cost was approximately $2100 (those are the only damages we are seeking + legal fees if necessary). Medical treatments to repair the arm involve surgery, a night in hospital, as well as many follow-up appointments. This happened on December 14, 2016.

Our daughter, a cheerleader, was being held in a stunt and lost balance and fell forward. The forward “spot” (whom is to catch her in such a situation) moved out of the way. The group of girls that she was being held by was a new group of younger students, not the group she practiced with on a regular basis. We have video of the event.

With it being later in the year, is it still under statue of limitations? If so, do we take this directly to the school system and its insurance department? We’d rather avoid legal action if possible (I am employed by the same school system).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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 BK,

Indiana law gives 270 days after an injury to file a claim against any state institution. See Indiana Title 34 Article 13-3. If your daughter was attending a public school, you have 270 days from the date of your daughter’s injury to settle any claim you may have against the school, or to file a lawsuit.

In most cases, teachers, school administrators, and school districts are not liable for injuries to students while the students are participating in sporting events. It is fair to say cheerleading is closely associated with a school sporting event. The legal doctrine is known as “Assumption of the Risk.”

The basis of this reasoning is this: Without such protection, every time a student broke an arm playing football, tore a meniscus playing basketball, broke a leg playing baseball, or fell during a cheerleading event, the school administration would be exposed to liability. School districts can’t function that way. The only way they could avoid legal action would be to entirely ban sporting activities.

There is an exception. If it can be shown the school exhibited gross negligence, the school district might be liable. Based on the facts, it is possible the teacher or supervisor of the cheerleading squad may have turned away at the moment your daughter’s fell, or the forward “spot” was distracted. In any event, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of gross negligence.

Speak with the school principal and ask if the school district will pay for your daughter’s medical bills. If not, you will likely have to submit a claim for medical treatment to your personal health insurance company.

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 1, 2017

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