Child Injured at School: Should You Sue?
For parents or guardians of children, an injury suffered at school is certainly cause for alarm.
But whether or not a child's injury should lead to a personal injury lawsuit may depend on a number of different factors. One of the most important factors is, of course, the type and severity of the injury suffered by your child. When an injury does not result in the need for medical treatment or create lasting physical or emotional harm, it may be difficult to recover damages in a lawsuit.
What else should you know when deciding whether to file a lawsuit for a school injury? Here are a few points to consider:
- Public school liability. Lawsuits against public schools and other government entities are generally subject to special rules, known in many states as Tort Claims Acts. These rules typically require that a claim be submitted to the government following an injury or an accident and may dramatically shorten the time limit within which the claim must be made (for example, to as short as 60 days from the date of an injury).
- Premises liability. When an injury occurs on school property, the school may be liable under the legal theory of premises liability. Premises liability requires that a property owner or tenant has a duty to maintain property in a reasonably safe manner. However, there may be a higher standard for premises liability claims when the property is government property.
- Negligent hiring and/or supervision. School districts may also be liable for injuries caused by the negligent or intentional acts of employees. For example, in 2012 the California Supreme Court ruled that a California school district could be held liable for negligently hiring and supervising a teacher who sexually abused a student.
- Waivers. Parents are often required to sign waivers of liability for their children to play school sports or attend field trips. Although the presence of a signed waiver may make injury claims for certain injuries more difficult, a waiver may not entirely prevent a parent or guardian from being able to pursue recovery for an injury to a child.
Learn more about injury lawsuits at FindLaw's section on Torts and Personal Injuries.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- How Do You Sue a School District? (FindLaw's Injured)
- School Bus Crashes: 3 Questions Before You Sue (FindLaw's Injured)
- Slip and Fall at School: How Do You Sue? (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
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