A school or teacher may be liable for injuries a student suffers from lack of supervision. Generally, there are two main questions in lack of supervision cases:
A school is not an insurer of a student's safety, but a school does have a duty to exercise reasonable supervisory care for the safety of students and may be liable for injuries resulting from the failure to supervise. This duty applies to both public and private schools.
A school does have a duty to supervise pupils during lunch or recess periods on the theory that injury is generally foreseeable when young persons in groups are left unattended during free periods. Similarly, a school may have a duty to supervise children before or after school hours if kids are in groups where dangerous activities could be reasonably expected to occur.
The duty to supervise is limited only to those injuries that are foreseeable. If the type of injury is not something that would generally be expected from the event or activity that caused the injury, the school cannot be liable for a failure to supervise students. For example, one court found it unforeseeable that a student would be intentionally kicked by another student following a basketball game.
A school will only be liable if proper supervision could have prevented the injury. There is no liability if proper supervision could not have prevented the injury. For example, in a case where a student was hit in the eye with a paperclip, the court found that proper supervision of the children could have prevented the injury. Sudden, spontaneous acts may still give rise to liability because just the presence of a supervisor may have prevented the act.
A suit for failure to supervise students can be complex and difficult to prove. Additionally, the school may have defenses to avoid liability. A personal injury attorney can help explain the law and protect your rights so that you can collect damages for your child's injuries.
Last Modified: 01-22-2014 11:20 AM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.