Is my child's school liable for burns from school food? 10 Answers as of October 06, 2014

My 8 year old daughter attends public school. She received a 1st degree burn when she spilled marinara sauce from her school lunch on her abdomen. She did visit with the school nurse (who will be discussing the matter with the principal in hopes of lowering the temperatures of food in the cafeteria), but I have yet to take her to the emergency room. Is the school liable?

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Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
No. These things happen. Kids spill food sometimes, and there is no way the school could have prevented it. First degree burns are no big deal.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/6/2014
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
If you can show the school knew or should have known that the temp was too high, then the school may be liable. However, if the burns were not bad enough to seek medical attention, the claim may not be worth bringing as it would cost more than you would be likely to get out of it. I would put the school on written notice, though, to hopefully prevent other burns. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 10/6/2014
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You obviously don't have a serious injury so your claim would be very small and lawyers would not likely be able to be involved. Why don't you just continue to press the system for changes. Write down the problem and let everybody know including the newspapers and TV in your area.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 10/6/2014
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Short answer: no liability. Governmental immunity prevents suits based on simple negligence. Only Gross Negligence.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/6/2014
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
How did the hot sauce penetrate through her clothing? Since a first degree burn, unless it is more than three inches in area, is normally treated at home, it does not seem worthwhile to argue who is at fault. Your child's injuries are too minor to warrant any monetary damages beyond, at most, one hospital visit. To establish school liability, you need to measure how hot the sauce was and how high in the container it was to show if a reasonable person could expect injury to occur.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2014
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Yes, but your daughter has to see a doctor. Damages are limited to medical expense no expense no recovery. You can send the bill to the school insurer.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/6/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Yes, in my opinion the school is responsible. Any delay in treatment could be detrimental to your child?s health as well as to her claim. Please have her seen soon, and talk to a lawyer who specializes in personal injury. Please be aware that there is a six-month limit for filing a claim against a governmental agency such as a school.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2014
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
    It is a good likelihood that the school is liable.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Not likely. They did not cause the spill, your daughter did. Further, you would have to show that they were negligent that the temperature was to hot. They can likely show that the temperature was required to meet health code. Lastly, a first degree burn, come on now.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/6/2014
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    I think it depends on how bad the burn is. If it is not bad enough to take your daughter to the emergency room, it might be difficult proving that the sauce was unreasonably hot.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/6/2014
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