Imagine the horror of testifying in court two years after an incident, without useful paperwork to help you recall what happened. Typically, years pass before a lawsuit reaches trial. In the interim, the witnesses may have encountered hundreds of children and incidents. Memories fade. Witnesses disappear. What now?
Now, the Parents of an injured child, sue the teacher for $250,000 and the only shred of evidence is the crumbled up “BooBoo Report” you wrote in 30 seconds two years ago after what you believed was a minor incident. Facing trial, you quickly search for the child’s file with the hope of finding a document that describes the incident. Most teachers are lucky to find a “Boo Boo or Ouchie Report” with unintelligible notes scribbled in the spaces provided and no signature from the parent.
An injury to a child, no matter how minor it seems, requires the preparation of an incident report.
The purpose of the Injury Report is to:
- Comply with laws requiring a written incident or injury report
- Assist a medical professional treating a child, and
- Help the witness testifying in court to remember the facts of the incident
Here are a few report-writing basics every teacher should know.
Just provide your Name and Email address below and get a link of the Injury Report form routinely updated by thousands of teachers
An incident report might never have a life outside of a file folder. However, it should be prepared professionally because if there is lawsuit relating to the incident, the report will be a central piece of evidence subject to scrutiny by judge or jury.
The first rule of writing an incident report is to investigate thoroughly by asking questions of everyone involved and anyone who might have witnessed anything. Then, accurately state the facts without commentary, embellishment, or speculation.
When documenting a report, pictures should be taken and appended to the report so that there is an accurate rendering of the injury as it first appeared.
Contact the parents immediately when an injury occurs. Some state laws require parental notification when there is any injury that requires medical attention.
After the report is complete, it should be given to the parent(s) of the injured child or responsible party, and they should be required to sign for its receipt. Where they are asked to sign, there should be clear language that the parent(s) are only signing that they have received the report and that their signatures do not mean they agree with or adopt the content of the report.
If the parents refuse to sign, do not make demands or argue with them; simply have a school employee witness that the report was delivered and sign a piece of paper verifying same. By adopting these practices, the school can avoid a later claim by the parents that they were not notified of the injury or were not given a report.
If on paper, the report should be secured along with other school records in a fireproof cabinet. If the report is stored on electronic media, the media should be backed up, and the backup should be stored off campus.
There are many facts and details that come flying quick whenever there is an incident at school. It may be difficult to keep in mind the right things to do and steps to take. Moreover, there are specially designed programs and downloadable applications that will lead you through the stepby-step information gathering process. They are of great assistance in the preparation of a professional incident report.
Here is a link to the textbook with this and many other childcare law topics
Here is a link to the online Report Writing course
Here is a link to the free mobile app that guides you through the step-by-step process
Email us your feedback and changes at firstname.lastname@example.org