Wellborn Paluch, LLP Blog

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Court Considers Gym Class Injury Lawsuit

Whether a minor student can initiate a lawsuit against another student and/or the school in the event of severe gym class or recess injuries?

  • While the occasional bump or bruise is not uncommon within the school setting, injuries more serious injuries often occur when games get too rough and/or adequate adult supervision is not provided. In the latter instance, injured children may file a lawsuit for compensation against the individual responsible for the harm and the school responsible for monitoring the activity. Personal injury lawsuits initiated by minors are handled and analyzed the same way as those filed by adults. However, an adult must actually file the claim on behalf of the child – a role most often filled by the child’s parent or guardian.

In one recent case, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department considered a lawsuit filed by a middle school student injured during a heated game of indoor gym class soccer. According to the lawsuit, another child attempted to intentionally trip the plaintiff, causing him to sustain severe injuries. Shortly thereafter, the injured child filed a lawsuit for damages – which was unfortunately dismissed at the appellate level after several jurists concluded that the evidence did not support a finding that the defendant tripped the plaintiff intentionally.

For children experiencing a similar plight in gym class, a successful personal injury lawsuit may be possible in the event that the teacher in charge failed to adequately explain the rules of the game, or was simply not paying attention to the students while they engaged in physical activity. While a child is not exempt from liability for intentionally causing harm to another student, the court will take the child’s age and maturity level into consideration when determining if a finding of civil liability is appropriate.

 Please note as well, there are often strict time lines in legal claims, particularly those which involve negigence of a governmentally owned institution, such as a public school.  In those cases, a "notice of claim", placing the public institution on notice of the action must be filed within 90 days of the injury.  Although the "notice of claim" period, may not be considered a statute of limitations in the strictest sense, failure to timelty give notice and have the same effect in time barring the Plaintiffs claim.  So call us as soon as possible after the injury occurs to discuss you and your injured child's rights.

At Wellborn Paluch, we work closely with victims to help maximize compensation following a catastrophic injury. For more information about how we can help your case, contact us today: 1-844-855-HURT or 716-254-2554.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


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