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School liability - Negligent maintenance - Plaintiff student injured when school playground swing seat breaks - Fractured seventh vertebra.

Worcester County, MA

In this negligent maintenance case, the plaintiff was a nine-year-old boy who was swinging on swing at school when the seat broke causing him to fall and sustain serious back injury. The plaintiff argued that he was doing nothing improper, and was just swinging on the swing; thus, the defendant was negligent in not maintaining the swing and checking it to ensure that it was safe for use. The defendant contested the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff’s last demand was $________ and there was no offer from the defendant.

As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained a broken seventh vertebra. The plaintiff was placed in a brace and could not move for the entire summer. The plaintiff eventually recovered.

The plaintiff’s father and mother testified as to the events, stating that they received a call from the school indicating that their son was injured. They initially thought he was not seriously injured, but he appeared to be in excruciating pain. The plaintiff’s parents testified that they took him to his pediatrician and ultimately discovered that he had a broken vertebra. The plaintiff’s parents testified that the plaintiff could not play or participate in any physical activity all summer. Further, he could not resume his usual sports activities until November or December.

The defendant admitted that the plaintiff was injured, but asserted that his injury was not the fault of the defendant. Also, the defendant pointed to the fact that the plaintiff had recovered and was now back to normal. The defendant had its principal testify that he did not see the accident, but saw the plaintiff lying on the ground and helped him inside. The defendant’s principle testified that there was no nurse on duty so he called the plaintiff’s parents.

The jury found no negligence by the defendant.

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