Can a School Be Held Responsible for Injuries to a Student During a Field Trip?

It depends.  Generally, courts will look into the facts of a particular case to determine whether or not a school should be held responsible for the students' injuries.  There is no set rule which necessarily requires or bans recovery for the student?s injuries.

What Factors Does a Court Look Into to See if a School Should Be Liable?

Certain factors that courts use can vary, depending on the specific case at hand and normal practices within the state.  The following are examples of some common factors that can influence a school?s liability for injury to a student during a field trip:

  • The age and experience of the students involved:  Is this a kindergarten class or a group of undergraduate students?
  • The location of the field trip:  Was the class visiting a museum or an industrial factory?
  • The person responsible for the injury:  Was it an employee of the school or someone else?
  • Injured students relative fault in causing the injury:  Was the student primarily responsible for getting themself hurt?
  • Precautions taken by the school:  Did the school provide supervision and direction?

Does Being a Public or Private School Student Make a Difference?

Yes.  There are many state laws that bar public school liability for injuries during a field trip.  Therefore, a private school student who is injured during a field trip technically has a better chance of recovering for their injuries.  However, it is important to note that many private schools use permission slips, which usually include liability release forms.

Does a Liability Release Form Prevent Recovery for a Student?s Injury During a Field Trip?

Most of the time, yes.  However, liability release forms will not prevent recovery for cases dealing with gross negligence (i.e. when the school fails to take safety measures even a careless person would take) or willful/wanton misconduct (i.e. when the school intentionally acts in ways that can cause injury).

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If your child was injured during a school field trip, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn about your rights.  A lawyer can tell you about your state?s local field trip laws, and analyze your case to determine the likelihood that you'll be able to recover.