Can you sue a child who accidentally injured your child at school?

My 10 year old daughter was injured when her classmate fell on her while on a swing. The other boy fell off the swing and hit her right in the face causing a deep cut. Can a claim be made against the other boy?
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Answer
Steven Choi
San Francisco, California
Personal Injury
415-777-4878

About
The Choi Law Firm specializes in personal injury, auto accident and wrongful death claims.

In addition to a claim made against the responsible child, you should consider a claim against the school for negligent supervision. Our law firm represented a young child who was seriously injured while hanging from monkey bars when another child pulled him down. We did not sue the other child but sued the school for negligent supervision. We discovered that the teacher who was supposed to be watching the children was instead eating his lunch on a bench quite a distance away. The school ended up paying a substantial settlement.

05/23/2020

Answer
Greg Freeze
Port Townsend, Washington
Estate, Trust Planning
(541) 997-7787

About
Greg Freeze is an Olympic Peninsula Attorney. As an attorney in Port Townsend, I specialize in being a general practitioner, operating with the motto, `small town law -- all issues welcome.`

In a negligence action, the standard of care owed by a child is only as great as that found with a child of "like age, experience, and intelligence."  Daun v. Truax, 56 Cal.2d 647, 655, 16 Cal.Rptr. 351, 356 (Cal., 1961).  Based on this standard of care, you can see how difficult it would be to prevail with a negligence action against the young classmate.  Collecting would be an even greater challenge without proving an intentional tort.  Thrifty-Tel, Inc. v. Bezenek, 54 Cal.Rptr.2d 468,476, 46 Cal.App.4th 1559 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 1996).

12/22/2009