What to do if during Physical Education class at school, my son sustained a broken front tooth and possible additional damage to the surrounding teeth?

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What to do if during Physical Education class at school, my son sustained a broken front tooth and possible additional damage to the surrounding teeth?

According to the dentist, additional damage could manifest itself later. The school had them playing hockey in the gym. Another student swung through and brought his stick up and hit my son in the face. The school never notified us, as parents, of the activity. They never urged us to provide appropriate protective gear for this activity and they never provided it. I am being told that I should have bought additional insurance through the school during registration. They are claiming no liability. Are they correct? It seems negligent to me. Who is liable for the damages?

Asked on November 20, 2012 under Personal Injury, Missouri

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The school district is liable for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable school district would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the school district, it may be possible to settle the case with the school district's insurance carrier.

When your son completes his dental treatment and is released by the dentist or is declared to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in his treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain his dental bills and dental report.  Your son's personal injury claim filed with the school district's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the dental bills is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the dental bills.  The estimated cost of future treatment discounted to present value should be included. 

If the case is settled with the school district's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the school district's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the school district.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your son because a minor cannot file a lawsuit himself.  If the case is NOT settled with the school district's insurance carrier, you will need to file the lawsuit for negligence against the school district on your son's behalf, prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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