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My son was assaulted by another student while at middle school this week. He sustained a broken jaw. Is the school liable?

San Francisco, CA |

Are the parents of the student liable for the medical expenses that I incur? This school is in California. I was UTL any info., holding the school responsible. A police report was filed. The responsible student was suspended for three days. This same student was suspended 6 weeks ago for assaulting another student. What are my recourses? My son's safety is of concern.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    Consult with a personal injury attorney. Most likely, the parents of the responsible student should pay for medical expenses. However, the school might also have liability if the school knew about the responsible student's propensities. Here, you state that the same student was previously suspended.

    It is well-established that a school has an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to protect its children. (M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union High School Dist. (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 508, 517.)

    Liability for lack of supervision or inadequate supervision attaches where the absence or inattention of a supervisor leads to an injury that otherwise would not have occurred. (J.H. v. Los Angles Unified Schol Dist. (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 123, 143-44.)

    The standard of care imposed upon a school is that which a person of ordinary prudence, charged with comparable duties, would exercise under the circumstances. (Jennifer C. v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1320, 1327.) The scope of the duty is determined by foreseeability of that type of injury occurring in the absence of adequate supervision or other safeguards.

    Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California only. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


  2. You should re-post this under Civil Attorney - Plaintiff's personal injury. While the underlying conduct is criminal in nature, your question as to whether the school is liable for your son's injuries is strictly a civil matter. Sorry about your son. Best of luck.

    Also, I have a friend who handles these types of cases in the SF area. His contact info is below:

    Joseph S. May
    LAW OFFICE OF JOSEPH S. MAY
    22 Battery Street, Suite 810
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    Tel 415.781.3333
    Fax 415.398.1410
    joseph@josephmaylaw.com


  3. This question is better suited to be answered by a civil/personal injury attorney.


  4. Please contact me. I used to represent school districts and am aware of the issues in this case. You need to file a government claim. You will bring a claim for negligent supervision.


  5. You will need to quickly retain a personal injury lawyer in your state, as lawsuits against schools usually have short time limits to put them on formal notice of the claim.

    Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com


  6. It is important to consult with an attorney at once to discuss your case. Your son may have a a viable claim against the school but if the school is a government entity, you must file a timely claim to preserve your son's legal rights. Your son also has a civil claim against the student and, potentially, his parents could be jointly and severally liable for their son's wrongful conduct.

    Regino M. Valenzuela
    Law Offices of Regino Valenzuela
    601 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 4050
    Los Angeles, CA 90017
    Toll Free number 800-927-1832

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. It is important to speak to an attorney to obtain legal advice and to determine if a viable claim exists and which statute(s) of limitation that apply to your case.

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