Visitor Question

Who’s responsible for broken tooth in gym class?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Merrillville, Indiana)

My son was in gym class playing basketball. He attends school in Indiana. Another student hit him in the mouth with the basketball. My son suffered a broken front tooth. It is going to require a crown to repair his tooth. With my insurance it is going to cost over $600.

Is the school responsible for the repair of his tooth? What about the other student who hit him in the mouth? 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 Anonymous,

I am sorry to hear about your son’s injuries, and I hope he’s doing better.

Unfortunately, to answer your question, more information is needed regarding the circumstances of the injuries. Even if someone gets injured as a result of the actions of another, that does not necessarily mean the other party is responsible for the damages.

To hold someone liable, there must either be negligence or intent. Negligence can generally be described as the failure to act reasonably under the circumstances.

Getting hit in the mouth with a ball can be seen as an expected consequence of playing a contact sport like basketball. This involves a legal concept known as “Assumption of Risk.” When you engage in a sport, or a parent allows their child to engage in a sport, they do so knowing that playing a sport can be physically dangerous.

Negligence would be hard to prove absent some extenuating circumstances. Unless the other student did it on purpose, there would likely not be a claim against them (or in reality, against their parents, assuming the student is a minor).

As to the school, again there would have to be negligence on their part to be held liable for your son’s injuries. Just because injuries happen on someone’s property or under their care does not necessarily make them responsible.

Even further, schools generally have greater protection under the law than other private entities or companies.

Unless there were extreme circumstances like an unsupervised game between students of very different ages (ex. an 8-year-old playing with a 16-year-old), an injury claim against the school would likely be very tough to pursue. Nonetheless, you should consult with a local injury attorney to review the specifics of your case.

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.

Best of luck with your claim,

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