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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Sussex County, NJ
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    Default Notifying Parent of Injury

    My question involves education law in the State of: New Jersey

    My daughter is in an out-of-district school because she has Asperger's Syndrome. While she was on an overnight, out of state class trip, my daughter broke her ankle. When it first happened (on a wed evening), they thought it was just sprained. The next morning, my daughter called me and told me she sprained her ankle. The director of the school was with her and said she was getting the gym teacher to look at her ankle. There was a lot of commotion in the background so I said to my daughter after the gym teacher looks at her ankle and decides what would be best and how to proceed - the options were leave her at the hotel while the rest of the school went on tours, take her to the ER for x-rays, or for me to pick her up. So....at this point, I only person that contacted me and whom I spoke with was my autistic child who said her ankle was sprained, little swelling, no bruising. After hanging up, I went about my day and never heard anything back so I thought that my daughter went on with the school to take the tours they had planned on taking that day. Two and a half hours later, I get a text message from my daughter saying she fractured her ankle. No one called me to tell me she was even going to the ER, I did not get any call from any hospital personnel as well. So I tried calling her once I received the message, called the director, and called another teacher whos cell number I had and got no answer. Another hour goes by and I was finally able to get threw to my daughter, who was back at the hotel room. The teacher made her comfy and joined the rest of the school on the tours. Still, at this point, I had not gotten any calls from any staff at the school. The only thing my daughter was able to tell me was her ankle was fractured. So, I had my sister pick her up (she lives in VA and was closer to my daughter than I was) and met me half way. Over the period of 3 weeks, I have called the school numerous times to try to get an answer as to why I was never called regarding her injury and was told first that it was a miscommunication, then I was told that it was against HIPAA regs to inform me about her injury, and then I was told they have a written statement from one of the teachers stating that he did in fact call me and spoke with me. I told them he did not and that I can prove that no calls were placed to me by phone records so if he can produce phone records showing he did in fact call me, then please produce them.

    Can any action be taken against the school for this? I'm not talking about just the possibility of a lawsuit, but are there any charges that can be brought against the school? Or is there cause to request an investigation?

    Thanks in advance and I will try to answer any questions regarding this if anything is unclear.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    then I was told that it was against HIPAA regs to inform me about her injury
    The person who told you that is either severely misinformed, or lying like mad to try to cover her own backside.

    You really need to consult with an attorney on this. It seems to me that the school was negligent, and that should be investigated.

    First consultations are usually free.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Just FYI, and not defending anyone here, just pointing out facts;

    When I was seven, I fell down and broke my arm. My father, WHO IS A PHYSICIAN, misdiagnosed it as a sprain simply because the break was already so closely reduced that it didn't show up as a break for over 24 hours. I was returned to the ER, re-xrayed and casted. I suffered absolutely no damages whatsoever by the delay.

    Not saying you can't take any action, but unless your daughter suffered some form of damages that would not have transpired if it had been handled differently, it may limit your options.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sussex County, NJ
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    17

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
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    The person who told you that is either severely misinformed, or lying like mad to try to cover her own backside.

    You really need to consult with an attorney on this. It seems to me that the school was negligent, and that should be investigated.

    First consultations are usually free.

    I really believed something was fishy with this whole thing. Furthermore, I just read the release that I signed before the trip and it states that the hospital can treat to their discretion only if the parent was not able to be reached. Honestly, no body called me. I have called the hospital as well and have not gotten anywhere with them either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sussex County, NJ
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    Just FYI, and not defending anyone here, just pointing out facts;

    When I was seven, I fell down and broke my arm. My father, WHO IS A PHYSICIAN, misdiagnosed it as a sprain simply because the break was already so closely reduced that it didn't show up as a break for over 24 hours. I was returned to the ER, re-xrayed and casted. I suffered absolutely no damages whatsoever by the delay.

    Not saying you can't take any action, but unless your daughter suffered some form of damages that would not have transpired if it had been handled differently, it may limit your options.
    May limit my options as far as a law suit. However, I am not just interested in that as an option. I want to know if I have cause to sign a complaint with the state department of education and have the school investigated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    You can complain with the State Dept. of Education and if you feel that you are being treated unfairly I would advise that you do so immediatly. On the lawsuit I would agree that your options are going to be severly limited. Your daughter called and told you about the inury herself apparantely as soon as it happened. The school at some point took her to hospital and found that the ankle was fractured and treated the injury. Would you have preferred they not treat the injury?? The school is going to use the defense that they were acting in "good faith" that you would have elected to treat your daughters injury. I understand the frustration and I hope that the state board gets together and sets things straight. Good luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sussex County, NJ
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Quote Quoting j991
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    You can complain with the State Dept. of Education and if you feel that you are being treated unfairly I would advise that you do so immediatly. On the lawsuit I would agree that your options are going to be severly limited. Your daughter called and told you about the inury herself apparantely as soon as it happened. The school at some point took her to hospital and found that the ankle was fractured and treated the injury. Would you have preferred they not treat the injury?? The school is going to use the defense that they were acting in "good faith" that you would have elected to treat your daughters injury. I understand the frustration and I hope that the state board gets together and sets things straight. Good luck
    Acted in good faith? I believe its their responsibility to take care of any injured child. If they didnt, that would be neglect. They take her out of state on a class trip so I do expect them to at least call me. They still should have called to notify me that she was being taken to the hospital, and when they found out it was broke and not left it up to my daughter who has an autism spectrum disorder. My daughter did not call me as soon as the injury happened, she called the next morning. And when she called to tell me it was fractured, I tried getting in touch with the adults on the trip with no luck. I had questions that my daughter was not able to answer and that had to do largely with her autism. And when I did not hear from anyone or get any questions answered, I made arrangements for my daughter to come home. I think the school should be made accountable for their part in this and the teacher that signed the statement that was untrue should be repremanded. And if the school cant handle situations like this, they shouldnt be taking disabled children on overnight class trips.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Yelling at the person trying to help you is in really bad form.

    It's not j991's fault. Stop hollering at him and take his advice - complain to the authorities about the situation and yell at them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sussex County, NJ
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Notifying Parent of Injury

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    Yelling at the person trying to help you is in really bad form.

    It's not j991's fault. Stop hollering at him and take his advice - complain to the authorities about the situation and yell at them.

    I really didn't think I was yelling....I thought that if you were yelling, you use caps. If anything, I think I was defensive, and I do apologize for that but I honestly dont think that I should feel lucky cause the school did bring her to the hospital. Shes disabled with an autistic spectrum disorder and really, I should have been notified. And to be honest, the school isn't the only one at fault for lack of contact because the hospital did not contact me either, not even for consent.

    Maybe nothing can be done about any of this but if anything, I will try to get the state to investigate.

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