Visitor Question

Is my son’s school liable for his broken femur and broken wrist?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Bellingham, Washington)

My elementary school-aged son (9) was in gym class where they were instructed to play never-ending tag. The gymnasium is lined with benches along all of the walls. The teacher left the gymnasium and went into the adjacent equipment room. She could not see the kids in her line of vision.

There were no other staff members or adults in the gym watching the kids. One student purposely pushed another student.

The student that was pushed collided into my son and pushed him into the benches alongside the wall – he suffered a full break of his femur and also broke his wrist. He was an innocent bystander.

Is the school liable for his injuries, pain and suffering? He has endured surgeries and a lot of missed school time, activities, and of course pain and discomfort. 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.


Dear Anonymous,

In most cases, injuries occurring to students while the students are at recess, or at other times during the normal and customary school day, are not compensable.

If the law permitted parents of student to pursue personal injury claims against schools when students are injured, schools would likely choose to forego recess for students, along with sports, and other extra-curricular activities.

It is just not reasonable for a school to be liable each time a student is injured. However, schools are not always immune from personal injury claims.

While injuries sustained by students during normal school activities are usually not compensable, if it can be shown the school or teacher was negligent in their supervision, and as a result of that negligence a student was injured, those injuries may be compensable.

Based on the facts, if the teacher had been properly supervising the children, it is more likely than not your son would not have been injured.

The teacher knew, or should have known, the game of tag is based on students running away from each other, sometimes at very high speeds. This, along with the hardness of gymnasium floors, made it more likely your son, or other students might be injured.

Because of the seriousness of your son’s injuries, and assuming you want to pursue a personal injury claim against the school district, you would be best-served to seek the advice and counsel of several local personal injury attorneys.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.

Learn more here: School Gym Class 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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