08 Dec Injuries to Children at School – Is the School District Liable?
As parents, we can see that our children are vibrant and full of energy, and sometimes may even see themselves as immune to harm – but the fact is that even children are susceptible to serious injuries in an accident, especially in school where they spend the majority of their time during the school year. If your child was injured while at school you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit based on your child’s injuries. However, you need to consider that the school and school district, at least if it is a public institution, have protections that other personal injury defendants do not. The school district, as a political subdivision, is protected by “sovereign immunity,” which means that they can be sued only as provided by statute. The requirements for bringing suit are normally governed by state law and vary from state to state. Injuries to Children at School
Filing a Claim Against a School District
Schools, teachers, and other employees who work for them, are required to provide appropriate supervision of children placed in their care, maintain safe premises, protect them from known dangerous persons, provide safe transportation, etc. The difference between a school district and a non-governmental entity is the path that must be taken to hold them liable for a breach of those duties. Sovereign Immunity laws in most states require you to file a claim for compensation within a short period of time following the injury complained of, usually within a much shorter time than that provided by the statute of limitations applicable to persons and entities not protected by Sovereign Immunity. The period within which the claim must be filed is commonly as short as 60-90 days. The claim must be in writing, and must be filed with the official or office specified in the statute. This allows the school district to investigate the incident complained of. The school district must either deny the claim or fail to respond within a period of time (again fairly short) specified by the statute before you are permitted to bring a suit against the district. It should be kept in mind that sovereign immunity protections may not apply to a private institution.
Others Potentially Liable
In addition to the school district, there are other parties that may be liable for your child’s injuries and may not be protected by sovereign immunity. These may include:
- Another student in a bullying situation;
- A teacher acting outside of the course and scope of the teacher’s normal duties;
- The driver of a car involved in an accident with a school bus; or
- An independent contractor doing work on school property.
At Baggett, McCall, Burgess, Watson & Gaughan LLC, our personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of experience and will work with you to find all of the responsible parties for your child’s injuries. Contact us at our Lake Charles, LA office today at (337) 478-8888.