According to Stanford Medicine, child injuries cause over 12,000 deaths in the United States each year. At least a quarter of these injuries happen on or near school grounds. This statistic is not surprising, given that children spend most of their active time in school. But who is responsible when a child is injured in school and should you sue the matter?
The Difference Between Public and Private Schools
If the child’s school is private, the parent can sue it in the same way that you would any other private entity. If the child attends a public school, they may be required to follow strict procedural rules that are specific to the state. Typically, this entails serving a Notice of Claim on the district or any other government agency in charge of the school. It is critical to act quickly because you may be required to file the notice within 60 to 90 days of the incident.
The Notice of Claim must describe the injuries, explain how the school’s negligence caused them, and state the amount of compensation that you are seeking. The compensation should cater to the amount the parent spent on the child’s medication and the suffering caused. You must wait for the school district to investigate after filing this notice. If the school district denies the claim or fails to act within the time frame specified by state law, you may file a lawsuit in court. You should review the laws in your state to ensure that you meet any additional deadlines. Some states also impose significant substantive liability limitations.
Potential Causes of Action When a Child is Hurt at School
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 7,000 children die each year from injuries. Many of these injuries occur at school. With this many child injuries occurring daily, it’s no surprise that many of them occur at school, as this is where many children spend the majority of their days. While school injuries do not always cause concern, some of them can be avoided. The following are some of the most common reasons why children are injured at school:
Slip and Fall Accidents
This type of accident happens a lot at school because there are so many places where kids can slip and fall and get hurt. A child may slip and fall on stairs, on slippery gym floors, while walking on uneven sidewalks, or while walking outside on ice or snow.
Children may become ill after eating tainted food provided by the school. For example, if the school cafeteria serves food that has been improperly stored or contaminated, a child may become ill after eating it.
Injuries During Sports
These occur when students participate in sports on school grounds. While there are risks to participating in sports, inadequate adult supervision or coaching can lead to worse injuries and liability on the part of the school.
Investigating the School’s Policies and Procedures
When investigating, the parent should investigate to understand the school’s safety policies and procedures. This includes understanding the specific steps taken to protect the safety of students, including the safety equipment or procedures in place to stop the most common injury causes.
For example, a kid was playing on the playground at school when he suddenly fell and injured his leg. The teacher on duty notices and quickly takes him to the school nurse for first aid.
The parent of the kid can investigate to know the whole story of how the kid got injured. They can do this by speaking to the teacher, and the nurse, checking the CCTV footage and speaking to other kids who were at the scene. The parent also needs to learn the school policies to know how the school handles such a situation. They can then take the necessary steps to ensure the kid receives justice and the proper medical treatment.
Understand Your Rights
When a child is injured at school, it is significant to understand the rights of both the student and the parents. In most cases, the school has a legal and moral responsibility to keep its students safe. If the school is found to be negligent in providing a safe environment for the students, then it may be liable for the injury.
Understanding the rights of the child is important to help determine the rights of the parents in these situations. A parent may seek compensation for the injury, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The parent should understand these rights before taking any action.
Seek Legal Advice
Remember that not all injuries that occur at school will entitle a parent to sue the school. To sue, the parent must be able to prove that the school was negligent in some way and that their negligence was the direct cause of your child’s injury. In some cases, the school or other parties may be liable for the injury. The parent should also understand their options for filing a lawsuit and get guidance through the process.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a School District
Sometimes, filing a lawsuit against a school district may be necessary to seek justice for an injured child to understand the applicable laws and regulations, and the process for suing. In most cases, a parent must first file a claim with the school district, which allows the district to respond and settle the case. If the school district does not respond, a parent may then file a lawsuit. Depending on the particular circumstances, it may also be necessary to file a court case against other parties, such as individual staff members.
Advice for Parents Whose Children Have Been Injured
When a child is injured at school, their parents need to take immediate action to protect their child and seek justice. The parent should first seek medical attention for the child. They should collect as much information as possible about the injury and any potential causes. This includes taking pictures of the scene, speaking to witnesses, and documenting any medical treatments received. It is also important to file a claim with the school district, as well as any other parties that may be responsible for the injury.
If your child has been injured at school, contact Alvendia Kelly & Demarest today at 504-200-0000 to schedule a free consultation.