Visitor Question

Son fell on playground and fractured his arm due to poor supervision…

Submitted By: Heidi (Sarver, Pennsylvania)

My son was at recess on August 31, 2017, as the school district in Freeport moved the Kindergarten students up from the Kinder center to the Elementary school. The playground has one particular yellow horizontal apparatus that was clearing for upper elementary.  My son was not supervised properly because he was on this pole.

He fell 91 inches from the height of the pole to the ground and the ground covering was not adequate. The wood chips were eroded away which prevented a softer landing. The nurse called and I came up and he had ice on his wrist. I could tell it was broken, as it was limp and he could not lift is (was dead weight). As we left he had to carry it with his right hand. The fracture was the left wrist, the ulna and the radius.

I took him to the ER and upon x-ray confirmation of fracture, I had to see an orthopedic doctor to get the bone set. After that the cast was put on. I contacted the principle and he agreed to lower the horizontal pole and to add more wood chips, as these improvements were needed to keep all kids safe. The principle also kept the kindergarten students off that apparatus on Friday, as they were restricted.

I feel the school is negligent. I asked for the incident report and asked the school to reimburse me for the medical bills since this was a preventable accident, as the pole was too high. Otherwise the principle would not agree to lower it. I asked for reimbursement for medical expenses and the school said no. I am beyond frustrated with that decision.

Where is the accountability? They have surveillance video as my son said when he fell, he had to get up from being injured and find the teacher that was sitting on the bench. To me there was no direct supervision or clear vision of sight of my son playing. What can I do? 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 Heidi,

The issue appears to be whether the horizontal pole was too high to be safe for children, and whether the ground beneath the pole was safe enough to absorb the fall of a child.

Young children are often injured at school. It is impossible to prevent some injuries. Schools aren’t necessarily negligent when a child is injured on school grounds or off property on field trips and similar school activities. Despite the best of supervision, children fall, run into furniture, are injured on monkey bars, slides, and suffer other injuries which do not necessarily occur because of school negligence.

School playground equipment promotes physical fitness, recreation, and socialization with other students. While 91 inches seems high, the height of the pole must be taken in its context. Monkey bars are often higher than 91 inches, as are slides and other playground equipment.

To have the basis of a personal injury claim will require you to show the pole was too high to be safe for your son, the school knew, or should have known the height of the pole and the ground beneath it was dangerous for your son, and that your son was injured solely from the fall.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. If you want to pursue your claim against the school it would be in your best interest and that of your son to seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area.

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 15, 2017

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