Can I sue my daughter’s school for negligence?

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Can I sue my daughter’s school for negligence?

My 8 year-old daughter was playing with her friend during recess and her friend grabbed on her shirt. My daughter then fell on her face. I fully understand that kids get into accidents from time to time but what really made me see red was when I picked her up from school that day. There was no explanation of what happened to her – she’s got minor scratches on her knee, hand and a big wound covered with band aid on her upper lip (which is badly swollen). I didn’t receive a phone call from the school informing me that she was hurt. On top of that, my daughter told me that only her friend (who’s also a 2nd grader) accompanied her to the clinic. I’ve spoken with the principal already and she said that there were teachers who were looking after the kids during recess. I just don’t get why my daughter was unaccompanied by an adult when she was bleeding and seriously hurt? I do not want this to happen to the other kids and parents at that school. It’s a private Catholic school and I just want them to clean up their act. My daughter had to miss 2 days because of this.

Asked on April 28, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you probably cannot:

1) The school is not responsible for your daughter's injury, from what you write; another child grabbed her unexpectedly, and she fell. There is nothing the school did wrong there.

2) Even if the school did something wrong in how it treated your daughter afterward, in failing to notify you in a timely fashion, in not sending an adult with your daughter, etc., if she did not suffer injury because of this treatment, then there is nothing to sue for--lawsuits are designed to compensate for loss, property damage, or injury, and so even if behavior is wrongful, if that specific wrongful behavior did not cause some injury or loss, there are no damages to sue for, unfortunately (or fortunately--better to not be able to sue, but your daughter is fundamentally all right).


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