Visitor Question

Granddaughter damaged teeth on playground… who is responsible?

Submitted By: Don (Raleigh, Mississippi)

On the first day of school my granddaughter fell and hit her mouth on some concrete which was on the playground. It broke and damaged top front teeth and broke the bone that keeps the teeth stationary.

A cast had to be put in her mouth. She will wear it for six weeks, and will more than likely need more procedures later and possibly braces. The concrete runs along one side of a cyclone fence which surrounds the playground. Is the school responsible for all the bill or am I? What are my options? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Don,

The legal issues involved in school injuries normally include:

  • Foreseeability
  • Waivers
  • Gross Negligence

In and of itself, concrete on a playground is not evidence of negligence. However, it can also be argued concrete on the area where children play was inappropriate. By allowing  children to play on top of concrete it can be argued it was foreseeable a child might be injured if falling on the concrete.

However, in many cases when children are about to be enrolled in schools their parents are required to sign a Waiver or Release of liability. By signing the Waiver or Release, parents are technically agreeing in the event their child is injured while at school, the school can not be held responsible (liable) for the child’s injures.

In most cases, the waivers are enforceable. However, if the injuries was caused by gross negligence, or as a result of the willful or wanton disregard for the student’s safety and well-being, the waivers may be unenforceable.

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: October 19, 2017

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