As children play on the playground during recess, accidents happen that can lead to scratches, broken bones, and at times even more serious injuries. Injuries also can occur during organized sports, such as football basketball, baseball, volleyball, and more, or while children ride the school bus. When these accidents happen, it becomes a complicated matter to determine who is liable, including the children involved, educators and/or school district.
Educators and Student Injuries
Although educating students is the main job of teachers and other educators, they also are responsible for the safety of the students under their care. Although accidents can happen no matter how vigilant a teacher watches the children, there are instances where they can be held responsible.
For example, if a teacher or school official was aware of potential problems, such as bullying, but did not stop it from happening, then they become liable for the injury. Educators also bear the responsibility when they have not taken the proper safety precautions during an emergency, inclement weather, or other potential problems. If the school was not properly maintained, leading to injury, then the injury becomes the school’s fault. Additionally, a lack of supervision can also lead to injuries for which the teacher is responsible.
A teacher or another educator is responsible for student injuries if negligence is determined. There are four main parts of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty: this is typically easy to prove since teachers and educators do have a duty of care for their students.
- Breach: this part of negligence is an important component of blame. It involves proving that the person did or did not do something that a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have done that led to the injury.
- Causation: causation includes both direct and indirect action resulting in injury, such as actual abuse from the educator, failing to stop another child from causing the injury, or correctly locking away potentially dangerous items
- Damages: in order for a negligence to move forward, the injury must qualify for some type of compensation through damages, such as medical expenses
To successfully demonstrate that a teacher is responsible for an accident, the plaintiff must prove all four parts of negligence occurred, causing the injury.
How to Know Who Is Responsible
If your child is injured at school and you want to target the responsible party, you should initially ask a series of questions to determine whether there was direct or indirect involvement of teachers, educators, or the school district, such as unsafe equipment or a lack of supervision. If you find evidence of such practice, then you can proceed with your negligence case.
Although parents and students can hold the educators and the school district responsible for injuries that occur on school property, it is also important that parents recognize their and their child’s responsibility. This includes following the rules, treating everyone with respect, understanding the school rules, and not knowingly putting themselves or others in danger, such as performing a dangerous stunt on the playground equipment. During an injury case, parents and their children may be held negligent as well.
It is beneficial to recognize the complexity involved in the relationship between educators and student injuries before you start to search for the person who is to blame. This can help you move forward with any legal action you plan to take.
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