San Bernardino, CA asked in Education Law for California

Q: broke her arm while at school on the play ground

broke her arm while at school on the play ground i was notified via phone by the principle that my daughter fell off the monkey bar and hurt herself that ice packs were given and she back in class however my baby sitters husband picked my daughter from school today and noticed my daughter in alot of pain and walking slowly to him he asked the personale at the school what happened and asked for a incident report and on of the school employees told him there is no incident report because the mother was informed after he immediately informed me my mother picked up my child from the baby sitters house and said that my daughter was in pain we rushed her to the hospital and was told she broke her arm i have the xray to prove this i emailed the assitant principle and she infromed me that faith seemed to be ok and she was able to move her arm while she was in their care they didnt think anything was wrong because she seemed

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2 Lawyer Answers
Donald Arthur Hilland
Donald Arthur Hilland
  • San Fernando, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your child's misfortunate. I will say I have litigated these kind of cases against schools. You would think they would do the right thing, but they rarely do. I have litigated death claims against the LAUSD and in my experience the LAUSD and their attorneys have no compassion, nor concern about the children, nor do they care about the parents' loss. So don't expect the school to claim responsibility. California schools are involved in many lawsuits and they fight them with great vigor and normally blame the students or the parents.

Don't expect to find much about injuries to children in the California Education Code. Most of the laws you will find have to do with disciplining children. But there is case law. The injuries can be covered usually in these circumstances which sounds like your case, if all three are present: Student injured (1) On school grounds, (2) while school is in session,(3) while being supervised by a school employee. There are many tripfalls along the way to a successful claim.

The first step is you have present a notice of government tort claim in writing within 180 days to the right people at the school district.* This is not as easy as it sounds because there are rules about what it needs to contain. Many government organizations have forms you must use. I could not find one for San Bernardino but you did not say what school she goes to. Anyway. You can see below the LA, Oakland San Diego and understand that's what you need for San Bernardino. I know they have one, but you may have to call and request it. (Another way to discourage claims if you wait until the last minute and they "mail it" to you.)

The next step is when they deny your claim, which they will, you have only 180 days to file the lawsuit. Understand the schools generally have insurance to cover these claims. It does not come from the books and supplies and teacher salary budgets. But no one else will tell you that. They will make it seem like you are robbing the children if you make a claim. Even when you file a claim, the school district's lawyers will try to make it appear as though it was your child's fault even though we do not hold children to the same standard as adults in our society. When it comes to suing the school,everyone will.

So you really an attorney who is experienced in suing what we call "public entities." Google that. See if there is an attorney in your area.

*State-Specific Examples of the "Notice of Claim" Process

In California, you must give written notice of your claim to the school district within six months of the date of student's injury. The district will then accept or reject the claim. If the claim is rejected, you can file a lawsuit in the state's civil courts. See examples of official forms for injury claims against California school districts:

Claim Against Los Angeles Unified School District

Claim Against Oakland Unified School District

Claim Against San Diego Unified School District

Claim Against San Francisco Unified School District

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
  • Education Law Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The child should have been given more serious attention by the school medical staff, and the failure to do so may amount to negligence. They can argue that since they alerted you, if you had reason to worry you should have picked your daughter up. But you say they told you it was very minor and nothing to worry about, so this points to arguable negligence by the school. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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