My daughter was injured by a teacher on campus. The school claims they aren’t liable…are they?

A teacher slung a door open and it
struck my child on the hand as she was
atteotkng to open it. The damage to
her hand is severe tendon damage and
may require surgery if the splint
doesn’t correct the damage. The school
says their insurance only covers spots
related injuries so the liability falla
on me. Considering it was a teacher who
caused the injury, I would think the
school is 100 liable.

Asked on April 29, 2016 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The school may be liable, as the teacher may be liable, IF the teacher were careless ("negligent") in injuring your child. For example, they may be liable if the teacher slammed the door unreasonably hard, or slammed the door without looking to see if anyone was in the way. But if the teacher was not at fault, they would not be liable--so if the teacher was responding to an emergency (an alarm or scream) when he/she raced through the door and it was just bad luck your child's hand was in the way, they would probably not be liable, since it is reasonable, not careless, to run through a door in response to certain sounds of distress. The facts determine liability.
If the teacher had been careless/negligent however, then he/she (as the person causing the injury) and the school (since their employee negligently caused an injury in the course of employment) may be liable. If the are and they do not pay voluntarily, you could sue them. Not having appropriate insurance does NOT mean they can't be liable or don't have to pay--it just means that they don't have insurance to pay for them, but would have to pay out of pocket if found liable. You should sue both the school and the teacher: the more people who may be liable, the greater the likelihood of collecting money.


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