When a child is injured on a field trip, schools and parents need to know who is liable. This is not always easy to determine when children are off school property because additional elements like foreseeability, responsibility for supervision, and proximate cause must be evaluated. In some cases, multiple entities may be responsible for field trip injuries.
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School and Field Trip Injuries
Each year around 16,614,000 school-age children receive injuries in the United States. Approximately 10 to 25 percent of those injuries occur at school or at school-related activities, such as field trips. While the risk is low, there is always a risk of injury when students head out on a field trip.
Understanding the Liability Waiver
Field trip permission slips appear to give the school a waiver for any liability if the child is injured while off the school property. However, liability waivers have limitations when someone else was negligent. Examples of people whose negligence could cause a child’s injury include:
- Chaperone or supervisor
- Bus driver
- School employee
- Business owner
- Property owner at the location
Parents must not assume that they have no grounds for a personal injury case because they signed a liability waiver.
Factors That Impact Field Trip Injury Cases
Several factors come into play when determining liability in a school field trip injury case. First, the children’s age and experience must be considered. If a high school student trips and falls on a mild hike on a field trip, there is not likely to be a liability. However, if a group of kindergarten students is taken hiking, and someone trips and falls, liability could be considered due to the age and experience of the children.
The field trip’s location also plays a role. Children should not take field trips to locations that are inherently risky or unsafe. If the school chooses to send children on this type of excursion, and someone is injured, the school could be liable.
Finally, a consideration of whether or not a supervisor or property owner could have prevented the injury is necessary. A premises liability lawyer can help parents look at the details surrounding the case to determine if a negligent teacher was the cause of the injury.