What action can I take if my child fell and broke her collar bone at school but they failed to contact all of emergecy contacts on her file and had her remain in school?

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2014

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What action can I take if my child fell and broke her collar bone at school but they failed to contact all of emergecy contacts on her file and had her remain in school?

She was left to stay at school crying and in pain for 3 hours while they had her attend gym class, lunch and her regular classroom. She is 6 years old and goes to elementary school. I want to know if the school or any of its employees can be held liable? She went to the emergency room last night and X-rays showed a completly broken collar bone.

Asked on November 4, 2014 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The school would only be liable for the injury itself--the broken collar bone--if they were at fault in some way, such as by not properly supervising the children (so that they were roughhousing without teacher supervision, and that's how your daughter was hurt) or having a dangerous condition (like a faulty or broken step or stair rail) that caused a fall. If the school did nothing wrong, they would not be liable for the injury; liability depends on fault.

They could be liable for the consequences of not calling the emergency contacts in a timely manner, but if "all" that happened was three+ hours of pain, then--without making light of that; as a parent myself, I know how bad it is to have an injured child--there is no point in legal action: the amount of money that you could get for your child being in pain for a few hours is negligible and would not offset the cost of the lawsuit. Only if--and we hope this was not the case--the delay led to some significant worsening of the injury, additional medical costs, etc., might legal action be worthwhile. That does not mean you could not or should not report their failure to the district, the board of education, the state department of education, etc.--what happened was reprehensible. But a lawsuit would not be the appropriate respose unless the school was at fault in the injury itself, or unless the delay caused the injury to signficiantly worsen.

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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