If your child is injured at school because of negligence, you may have a case for receiving compensation for damages sustained.
Unfortunately, school accidents are very common. There are many different causes of school injuries and many different places where children could be injured on school property. On average, there are approximately 12,175 child fatalities that occur each year because of accidental injury.
However, because there are so many different ways that a child can be injured at school, it’s hard to know exactly who is liable for your child’s injury.
How Did the Accident Occur?
When determining who you’ll be filing a lawsuit against for your child’s injury at school, the first questions you’ll need to answer are how the accident occurred and who was responsible for it.
You’ll then need to determine whether the accident occurred because of an intentional act or because of someone’s negligence. Intentional acts include bullying, abuse, or harassment either by another student or a teacher, or another school official.
If the injury occurred because of someone’s negligence, this means that they didn’t harm your child on purpose. Instead, it was something they did without thinking that caused the injury. They may have committed the act on purpose, but they didn’t intentionally harm your child.
Negligence refers to the breach of the duty of care that a school employee has for their students. They are required to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. If this duty is broken, it means that they’ve done something that could cause a student harm.
For example, a negligent act could involve a sport’s coach sending a player back into a game after they reported an injury. The coach may believe that the child isn’t that injured. But sending them back in could cause further damage to the injury.
Additionally, negligence could look like a lack of supervision, causing a child to fall and hurt themselves on the playground. If they were properly supervised, the injury wouldn’t have occurred.
Accidents that Can Occur at Schools
School Bus Accidents
A school bus accident could occur because of a bus driver or school district employee’s negligence. For example, the public school district may be at fault if they didn’t provide proper training to the bus driver or if they didn’t keep the bus in proper working order, free of mechanical issues. Another driver could also be at fault for the child’s injuries if their negligence caused an accident with the bus driver.
A playground accident could occur because of a lack of supervision, defective playground equipment, or dangerous design. At-fault parties could include school employees or playground equipment manufacturers.
Improper food preparation, food allowed to go bad before serving, or tainted food provided by a supplier are all common causes of food poisoning in schools. In schools with many students, food preparation is a huge task that is often rushed through to serve the entire school. Negligence in preparing food or making sure food is safe to serve can lead to food poisoning accidents.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall accidents can occur both inside and outside on school grounds. Outside slip and fall accidents may occur because of snow or ice that hasn’t been removed from sidewalks. Icy sidewalks could be the school district’s fault for not ensuring that the snow was properly removed before opening schools up.
Indoor slips and falls could occur because of messes that weren’t cleaned up or because of broken or missing handrails.
Sports injuries may not seem like they could be the fault of someone else. But if a coach encourages a player to continue playing after being injured, they may be liable for any further damage that occurs. Take for example a student who gets a concussion during a football game. If the coach puts them back in, they may suffer further and more severe injuries. In this case, the football coach may be considered negligent for not taking the player out of the game to receive medical treatment.
More than 3.5 million children aged 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. Death because of sports injury is uncommon, but the leading cause of sport-related fatality is a traumatic brain injury.
School Zone Accidents
An accident could occur in a school zone when a student is crossing the street. An accident that occurs here could be the fault of a crossing guard for not paying attention or a negligent driver passing through the school zone.
Other child injuries include exposure to asbestos, inadequate emergency preparedness, defective equipment, inadequate supervision, and more. In reality, many, many injuries can occur at school.
Is the School Public or Private?
Whether or not your child attends a public or private school affects who you would sue in a lawsuit. A public school is a government entity. Therefore there are stringent measures in place that must be followed when bringing a lawsuit against the school.
If your child attends a private school, it may be easier to bring a lawsuit against the not-for-profit organization that runs the school. Private schools aren’t affiliated with the government. Therefore, there aren’t specific procedures that need to be followed when filing a personal injury claim against them.
Who Am I Suing?
If your child attends a public school, you’ll sue the public school district if an employee was liable for your child’s injury. If another party (like another vehicle in a school bus accident or school zone accident) were liable for causing your child’s injury, you would sue that party. When you sue the school district, the school district’s attorney will represent the specific party that was negligent.
If your child attends a private school, the process is the same except that the liable party will be represented by an attorney hired by the not-for-profit organization that runs the private school.
In most school injury claims, you won’t sue the one specific party that was negligent in causing the accident. Instead, you would sue the school as a whole. Most schools, public and private, protect their employees from being sued directly.
Contact a Child School Injury Attorney
If your child has been injured at school, you should immediately contact a talented school injury attorney. Here at Sand Law, we have years of experience working on school injury cases. We will work hard to get you the compensation that you deserve for the damages associated with your child’s injuries.