Injury at school

While eating my high school lunch that
is provided by the school, I bit down on
something hard in spaghetti and broke
a piece of my tooth off. I showed my VP
the piece of tooth and she told me ‘it’s
just a dries piece of pasta’ I went to the
nurse and she confirmed what I had
was a piece of my tooth. Can my
parents get the school to pay for fixing
my tooth?

Asked on May 11, 2016 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The school would be liable if they caused the hard object to be in your meal: for example, a cafeteria worker didn't defrost food properly, so it was still frozen hard, or accidently knocked some hard non-food object (like a screw or piece of wood, metal, or plastic) into the food. Liability depends legally on fault. 
Practically, to win a case, you'd need to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" that they did something wrong. If you don't even have the foreign object, this will be almost impossible--if you don't have the thing you bit, how can you show that the school put it or allowed it to be there? For all a court could tell, you accidently bit down on your own spoon or fork while eating, which caused the break; or maybe you were fooling around (e.g. horseplay) with another student, and that caused you to bite down too hard, or strike your jaw with or on something to cause the tooth to break; etc. Without the object, your odds of holding the school liable, if you were to sue, are close to zero.

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