Legal Question in Personal Injury in Texas

Our daughter broke her wrist in two places during her morning recess at school. The school neither sent her to the nurse, nor informed us in any way. We only found out when we picked her up from school that afternoon, after she had spent the entire school day with a broken wrist. The teacher who was informed of the injury, who is not a medical professional, only gave her an ice pack and then told her to "tough it out". Why is a teacher practicing medicine without a license? Why didn't they send her to the nurse? Why didn't the school notify us at all that our daughter had been injured?

There is also a possibility that the injury was made worse by lack of treatment since she had to wait several hours until we got her home before she could be properly assessed and treated by a doctor. The entire time she was at school she had to use her wrist to perform her tasks as a student. Additionally, my daughter spent the entire day in severe pain as a direct result of the school's lack of action.

My wife and I would like to take the school, as well as the teacher who improperly assessed and treated my daughter's injury, to court. Do we have a case?

Asked on 5/09/11, 11:49 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Tanja Martini The Martini Law Firm, PC

Under sovereign immunity, Texas public school districts have no liability to student and their parents for negligence, other than claims arising "out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle." There is some additional liability under the Education Code for injuries caused by excessive discipline, and Federal liability for civil rights violations. So amazingly, there is no state liability imposed for defects on the premises. However, you should ask the school district if they carry medical payments coverage for the school.

If your daughter was injured on while using the school’s playground equipment, then you should find out whether the school district had a third party contractor install the playground equipment, how old the playground equipment is, and who manufactured the playground equipment. If it was the result of defective installation or maintenance by someone other than the school district, you may have an avenue of recovery against that third party. Also, if the playground equipment broke due to defective design or manufacture, you may have a products liability claim against the company(ies) that manufactured and sold the equipment to the school district.

If your daughter attends private school, then sovereign immunity defense will not be available to the private school.

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible because you may have as little as 15 days from the date of the injury to deliver notice of your claim to school district authorities.

I hope that your daughter recovers quickly from her injuries. I also hope that you found this information useful.

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Answered on 5/09/11, 4:58 pm

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