kids playing a school sport

Who Is Liable for School Sports Injuries?

It can be scary to think about your child getting injured while playing school sports. The extensive paperwork and waivers you have to sign for him or her to participate can certainly cause anxiety and thoughts of worst-case scenarios. What would happen if your child was injured while playing school sports? Who would be liable? Could you hold someone liable even though you signed a waiver? These are all good questions which we will address in further detail here.

Who is liable for school sports injuries?

A sports injury may be mild or severe. In either case, a child who has sustained a sports-related injury may be in pain and uncomfortable. Furthermore, the injury may be expensive to treat. Most parents are required to sign waivers of liability for a child to participate in a school sport, which may seem as if signing the form means you are waiving your right to file a lawsuit against the school should a student sustain in injury arising from “ordinary negligence.” Ordinary negligence, however, only means you are waiving your right to sue for injuries caused by the risks inherently present due to the nature of playing the sport.

Other types of risks, such as being injured by the negligence of someone who owed the student a duty of care, cannot be waived. A school, as well as staff, owes a duty to keep students relatively safe from harm. When this duty has been breached, the negligent party can be held responsible for resulting harm despite a waiver being in place. This means the liable party could be subject to a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for things like:

  • Medical bills
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Pain and suffering

An example of a breach of this duty owed to students may include if a student is injured during sports-related activities by a piece of broken or defective equipment. If an employee knew that the equipment was broken or otherwise defective, then the school may be held liable for injuries and other damages resulting from the student being injured while using the equipment.

Potentially liable parties may include teachers, coaches, and administrators at the school. These are all people who usually owe a duty of care to students. Should a breach of this duty of care result in a school sports injury, the party who breached the duty may be held liable for damages. Furthermore, under “respondeat superior” laws, a school district, as employer for the liable party, may also be held vicariously liable for damages. Bringing a lawsuit against a school district, as a government entity, can be complicated and involve specific steps and deadlines to be observed.

Philadelphia School Sports Injury Attorneys

If your child has been injured while playing school sports, talk about your options with the dedicated attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy. Contact us today.