Teachers are Responsible for Children’s Educations. But are they Legally Liable When a Child is Injured at School on Their Watch?

Let’s say that your kindergartener is across from the school playing on the playground with all of the other kids. The teacher on duty is sitting in a lawn chair off to the side and decides she’s going to catch up on reading her latest magazine. She fails to keep an eye on the kids, and all of a sudden your kindergartener runs out of the play area chasing a ball that’s headed across the street. Out of nowhere comes a car – and before you know it, there’s a screech of brakes, and your little girl is injured because of someone else’s negligence and failure to care for their overall safety. What can you do? What options do you have readily available?

Understanding the Four Elements of Negligence

  • Duty: In all negligence cases, there is a duty of care owed to the plaintiff by the defendant. Teachers are tasked with watching over and training students, which includes their safety. It is, then, a teacher’s duty in most cases to give them that standard of care.
  • Breach: In this case, the defendant must have breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff by doing or not doing something that a reasonable person would have done in that situation. If a reasonable teacher would have taken special measures to assure the child’s safety and the defendant teacher did not, then the breach element comes into play.
  • Causation: In this case, the defendant teacher must have caused an injury directly or indirectly through their negligent actions. However, it must be noted that not everything that happens at school is in the hands of educators. No, something like being hurt in a bad storm would not be considered the direct cause of the act of injury.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must have sustained an injury that can be remedied by compensation. If there is no type of compensation to be expected, then there may be no claim.

When in loco parentis Comes Into Play
What is in loco parentis? This is a phrase that means “in place of the parent” and is a legal doctrine that applies to teachers. This means that, while a child is away at school, then the teacher has responsibility of the child and steps in as a caretaker. This legal doctrine, in many situations, will make teachers liable for accidents and injuries sustained when the child is under their supervision. However, it will all depend on the circumstances surrounding the case.

What Evidence Can Help You Prove Your Case?
Photographs or videos of any incidents causing a child’s injury can be valuable to the case. You can take close-up pictures of the dangerous condition and your child’s injury and how it was sustained. You can also receive witness statements, if possible, to prove the claim and get details of exactly what happened. You will also be able to ask for damages like medications, crutches, and pain and suffering if you have proof of what happened and what medical records report.

If your child has been injured in the care of a school or teacher and you believe you have a case, it is a good idea to talk to a trustworthy attorney about a possible case. MDL can help you go forth and bring suit against the negligent party. Now you can find out more by giving us a call and speaking to somebody that you can trust with your claim. Call today for more information.