Who is liable for an injury that happened on school grounds in an after school program?

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Who is liable for an injury that happened on school grounds in an after school program?

My son was in his after school program when another child threw a baseball when my son was walking by. This resulted in a concussion and a chipped tooth. The site coordinator did not notify me and I didn’t find out until I picked him up 2 hours after the incident occurred. I had sent 2 letters to the parents of the child who

brought the baseball to school and the other child who threw the ball. I asked that they paid dental/medical that totaled $113. I never heard a response. Since the incident my son has missed 6 days of school and I have had to miss 2 days of work. Who is liable? The school or the parents of the children?

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The school is not liable: they did not cause the baseball to be thrown and realistically could not have stopped it; since they were not at fault in causing the injury, they are not responible for it.
The parents of the child may be liable IF the child either intentionally threw it out your son or acted unreasonably carelessly (negligently) when judged by the standards of a child of his age. In these case--intentional bad act or negligence--he would be at fault and therefore, since he was a minor, his parents may be liable.
But if he was not negligent or acting in an intentional bad way, but was just playing ball or catch, etc. in a location and time where it was reasonable to do so and the ball got away from him and hit your son, then he and his parents would not be liable: there would be no fault in this case, and there is liability only when there is fault.
Bear in mind that even if there was fault and you could potentially hold the child's parent's liable, if they won't pay voluntarily, you'd have to sue them. Whether a lawsuit is worth it for the out-of-pocket medical costs, lost wages, and possibly a *small* amount for pain and suffering (for a concussion; for a chipped tooth) is unclear.


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