If My Child Was Injured at School, Can I Sue the School District?
From the age of five until 18, children spend many of their waking hours at school. As parents, we expect our kids to enjoy a rich learning environment free from dangers or hazards. When something happens to one of our children while under the care of the school, it natural for a parent to want to hold someone responsible. Due to government rules, though, it is often difficult to sue a school district after an accident on school grounds or on a school bus. However, that does not mean it is impossible.
One of the school accident lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., can examine your case and let you know what your options are to recover damages on behalf of your child. Call 800-550-0000 today for a free consultation about your case.
Why Is It Difficult to Sue After a School Accident?
Through a concept known as sovereign immunity, the government prevents citizens from suing most government entities, including at the federal, state, and municipal level. The idea behind this concept is that the government’s main source of funding is tax revenue. Accordingly, if a government agency faces the legal costs of a massive lawsuit, all citizens will share the burden of paying—even those of us who had nothing to do with the reason for the suit.
As a result of sovereign immunity, it is difficult to sue if a government employee caused an accident or if you suffered an injury on public property. Sovereign immunity may protect, for instance, a police officer who strikes your vehicle in traffic, the city or county if you sprained an ankle on a public basketball court, or the school where your child’s injuries occurred.
However, there are exceptions to sovereign immunity. These exceptions, known as waivers, can apply if we can demonstrate the school or one of its employees behaved in a grossly negligent manner, leading to your child’s injury.
What Kind of Suit Can I File Against the School?
For most children hurt at school, the injury occurs because:
- There was a defect or hazard on the school grounds, such as a broken or rusted chain on a swing set; or
- Ateacher or staff member failed to supervise the child adequately.
In either scenario, you potentially have a valid lawsuit against the school system, even in spite of sovereign immunity laws.
If your child suffered injuries due to a hazardous condition at school, you may be able to file a premises liability suit. Under premises liability laws, the owner or manager of a piece of property—in this case, the school district—has a duty to keep the property free from hazards and to protect visitors from any dangers that emerge. If the school district failed to protect your child from a property hazard, you may qualify for compensation.
School hazards that might injure a child include:
- Broken playground equipment;
- Wet floors;
- Loose stairs;
- Missing or defective handrails;
- Uneven pavement; and
- Other slip and fall
We can let know you whether the circumstances of your child’s accident qualify for a lawsuit. If so, we can investigate what happened, including visiting the scene and documenting all hazards the school district should have dealt with before an injury occurred.
A negligent supervision lawsuit claims that if a teacher or other school employee had properly supervised your child, he or she would not have suffered injuries in an accident.
Adults must supervise the safety of schoolchildren at all times. If your child suffered a neck injury after going headfirst down a playground slide—and the closest teachers were more than 100 yards away at the time of the accident—you may have a strong claim for negligent supervision.
What If the School Has Insurance?
If the school has insurance that covers the type of injury your child suffered, you are much more likely to get an out-of-court settlement. Usually, you can file an insurance claim if the school system has coverage.
Speak to one of our attorneys as soon as possible if you plan to file a claim. We will begin the process of investigating your injury and determining the best route for getting a settlement from the school district. Whether that means suing the school or filing an insurance claim, we will pursue the compensation you deserve.
For a Free Consultation With a School Accident Lawyer, Call 800-550-0000 Today.
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., our attorneys focus on personal injury cases, with a special emphasis on children injured on school grounds. We know the laws in these cases are complex, and we want to help families get the compensation they deserve. We offer free consultations and claim reviews, so call 800-550-0000 today to schedule an appointment.