Gym Class and Personal Injury Claims
If your child is injured during gym class, you might have a good personal injury claim to recover damages including medical expenses from your child’s school or their insurance company. As with all personal injury claims, the primary question involves liability. The question will be asked like this: Is your child’s school liable for a gym class accident?
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
Courts have found that schools have a duty to keep gym class reasonably safe. If they fail this duty through an act of negligence or through the failure to act and your child is injured, the school will most likely be responsible for paying damages. To prove your child’s school is liable for injuries sustained during gym class you must prove three things. First, you must prove that your child’s school failed to keep gym class reasonably safe. Classic examples include the school letting the gym space fall into disrepair or letting the students play on a playground where ice is present.
Second, you must prove that your child’s school was negligent in failing to keep gym class reasonably safe. “Negligence” is defined as “the lack of ordinary care.” A negligent school administrator or teacher fails to use the kind of care that a normal school administrator would use in the same situation. A school might be found negligent if the school lost your child’s respirator and he had an asthma attack running the mile, for example.
No Absolute Duty
It is important to understand that the definition of negligence saves schools from an absolute duty to keep your child safe. A school is not automatically responsible for your child’s injury. You must prove that they should have taken more care or failed to act and that failure made gym class unsafe for your child.
The last thing you must prove in a successful personal injury claim against your child’s school is that the unsafe condition that the school negligently failed to take care of actually caused your child’s injury. If your child slipped on a patch of ice during gym class and broke her leg, for example, you would seek to prove that the unsafe condition – the presence of ice – caused your daughter’s injury.