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Who’s Liable When Your Child’s Injured At School


School has already begun which means for the next 8 or so months, your child will be spending most of their time away from home. For 5 days a week from the early morning to mid-afternoon, you are trusting the school to be responsible for your child.

However, when trouble rears its head, do you know who is liable for your child’s safety?

It can be a rather complicated matter at times. While the school is generally responsible for your child, there are a few exceptions and parents might need to shoulder some responsibility as well.

A Safe Space

To a certain degree, schools are responsible for providing a safe environment for their students. In other words, school must take reasonable steps to ensure that your child is not harmed by other students, teachers, staff, those entering the school grounds without permission or structural issues with the school building and grounds.

However, this does not mean that every injury that occurs at school is that school’s responsibility.

For example, if your child was running down the steps and fell as a result, the school would not be liable because the child’s injuries were a result from running and nothing else.

If your child had fallen down the steps as a result of a broken hand rail that the school neglected to fix, then the school would be liable because they were aware it was broken and should ensure that their stairs are reasonably safe.

The majority of child injury cases come down to a question of negligence: Did the school do the wrong thing or fail to do anything all together that resulted in your child being injured or had made the school an unsafe environment?

Here are just a few additional examples as to how your child’s school could be liable for their injuries:

  • A student was hit by a car near the playground area because the vehicle traffic around the area was not restricted properly or due to a lack of supervision
  • An injury was caused by damaged stairs that the school was aware about, but neglected to repair it
  • Cafeteria staff cooked and served students’ lunches that were not fit for eating
  • A teacher knew that your child was being bullied and did nothing to prevent or stop the incidents from occurring
  • Neglecting to provide your child with their necessary medication

While the school is responsible for a number of things, their liability only goes so far. The school cannot protect your child from something they do not know about. Additionally, there is only so much the school can reasonable prevent, especially with those who are as unpredictable as a child.

A Parent’s Responsibility

Even though you are not at their school, you have some responsibilities when it comes to keeping your child safe while they are there. In fact, you could even find yourself in trouble for your child’s misbehavior. For example:

  • If your child is mistreating other students or school staff, you are liable because it is your responsibility to teach them how to act respectfully.
  • If your child is disobeying school or safety rules, it is you are liable because it is your responsibility to teach them to follow these rules.
  • If your child needs to take medication, such as insulin, during school hours, it is your responsibility to ensure that the school has a supply of the medication and instructions on when and how it should be given.

In short, your responsibility begins long before you even drop them off to school. While a few mistakes are expected from children, you need to make sure they can act mature enough to regard their own safety and the safety of those around them before they act.

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.

Who’s Liable When Your Child’s Injured At School

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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