Membership in HCEA provides automatic coverage of a $1 million Liability Insurance Policy which pays legal fees and damages to the limit of the policy for defense of members in certain job-related cases.

Some of the important provisions of this coverage are listed here. Copies of the complete policy are available from HCEA on request. Members are encouraged to read the policy and should contact appropriate staff members at HCEA (410-997-3440 or see contacts page) for additional information regarding the specific coverage provided.

1. Liability Pays all damages which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as a result of any claim arising out of an occurrence or event in the course of the insured’s educational employment activities (subject to the limitations contained in the policy) and caused by any acts or omissions of the insured or any other person for whose acts the insured is legally liable, not to exceed $1 million (other than civil rights issues)
2. Defense of Criminal Charges Pays reasonable and necessary costs and attorney’s fees for services rendered, not to exceed $25,000, when incurred in the defense of any criminal action or proceeding in the course of the insured’s educational employment activities if the insured is exonerated or charges are withdrawn
3. Defense of Civil Rights Issues A coverage that will pay up to $250,000 per occurrence for legal fees and damages as result of a claim based upon an alleged violation of protected civil rights.
4. Bail Bond Pays up to $1,000 per bond required of the insured arising out of the insured’s educational employment activities.
5. Personal Property Benefits Pays up to $250 for damages to or destruction for Assault of the insured’s personal property, other than a vehicle, caused by an assault upon the insured on or surrounding school property, or while away from school property on an authorized school activity, to the extent that such damages exceed the covera provided by any homeowner and similar insurance.

NOTE: Many legal services not specified above are provided to members through MSEA’s regular legal services program. Please contact HCEA 410-997-3440 for details.


The topic of liability is of growing importance today because the crime and accident rate in the schools is increasing every year and, along with this growth, there has been an even more dramatic increase in the number of legal suits brought against educators for injuries to students allegedly caused by the educator’s negligence, an educator’s assault of the student, and/or child abuse.

In the past, parents generally did not bring suit against educators unless an injury was severe, but this is no longer the case. Parents and students are being made aware of the possibility of litigation and they are increasingly turning to the courts.

Although the Board’s policy must cover its agents and employees, there are often limitations attached. For example, the Board’s policy does not provide any coverage for the educator when the action is taken by the Board against the educator, such as in administrative actions against the educator for alleged negligence, assault, or child abuse.

Liability suits are often concerned with:


  • Commission – Directing students to perform a task involving some danger.
  • Omission – Failure to do something to insure safety; failure to provide safeguards.
  • Contribution – Acting in a manner which might lead to an injury (i.e., leaving a classroom unguarded, etc.).


Corporal punishment of any kind is prohibited by law. Exception; breaking up fights.
Extreme caution should be maintained against any physical contact with students.

What to do if a Student is Injured?

Any pupil injury should be reported by a educator through the proper administrative channels in the school system. If there is any possibility that the educator involved has been negligent and/or committed an assault, the incident should be reported to HCEA immediately, rather than after a suit has been filed, so that the names and addresses of witnesses can be obtained and the educator can be given proper legal advice.

In no case should an educator voluntarily pay medical or property damage bills without reporting the incident, as this act might later be offered as an admission of guilt or negligence in a suit for damages which might result. It is equally unwise for a teacher to relate the incident to any person representing the student or the student’s parents without first seeking the advice of counsel through HCEA Liability Insurance

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