Who is responsible if my disabled son was injured at school?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Who is responsible if my disabled son was injured at school?

He is in Special Ed and attends a private school paid for by our district. The school allowed him to bang his head repeatedly on a mat resulting in a hematoma on his ear. We have been to urgent care and the er twice and his primary care physician. My child has autism and developmental delay and this has been extremely difficult to manage. His ear is still deformed and not looking better. The injury occurred 2 weeks ago.

Asked on December 19, 2015 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the failure to stop him banging his head was negligent, or unreasonably careless, or not. If the injury happened too quickly for them to reasonably stop, they would not be liable; or if, under the circumstances (e.g. if he was being violent), letting him bang his head on a (presumably) soft mat appeared to be safer (including for him) than trying to stop him, they again may not be liable. But if he looked like he was or could injure himself and school personal had a chance to stop him and failed to do so, they and the school could be liable. In that case, you could potentially for any out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs and also for "pain and suffering" if the ear is likely to remain permanently deformed.

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