Every parent dreads the idea of receiving a phone call from the school reporting that their child has been injured in a slip and fall accident. While schools primarily focus is on educating the kids that attend them, the administrators and teachers must do their best to protect the students from these kinds of injuries. Read up on the facts about bringing a lawsuit against your child's school for an injury before announcing your plans to the local board of education.
There Is a Shorter Statute of Limitations
Did your child's accident occur at a public school? If so, your lawsuit is technically against a government entity due to the public funding. This means you'll have to follow the rules of making a Tort Claim, which gives the school a chance to contest the claim or offer you a settlement before you can take the case to court.
Each state sets a different statute of limitations on making your initial clam to the school after your child's injury. In some areas, you only have 60 days to file the right paperwork and present your evidence. After that time limit passes, you forfeit all your rights to sue for medical costs or disability reimbursement in cases of severe injuries.
School Bus Injuries Are Included
Many parents make the mistake of assuming they must press charges against the bus drive if their child is injured while riding the bus to and from school. When your child falls off the back of the bus due to a faulty safety door, you may need to bring the case against the school system that failed to maintain the vehicle instead. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can help you decide which party or entity bears the most responsibility, giving you the best chance to prove your case with evidence. For an example of where to find a slip and fall lawyer, navigate to this website.
Liability Is Harder to Prove
Of course, schools couldn't operate properly if the staff were expected to prevent every potential accident and injury. You still need to prove the staff was somehow negligent, and that the negligence caused your child's injury. This is done by gathering evidence of
- Outright abuse by teachers and other staff members
- A failure to monitor the hallways or playgrounds, resulting in a fall
- Unlocked access doors allowing students to reach building roofs or balconies
- Poor physical conditions inside or outside the school, resulting in trip hazards.
Field Trips are Out of Bounds
Did your child fall during a trip to a nearby park or tumble down some stairs at a museum? Unfortunately, almost all schools waive their liability for these kinds of extracurricular trips off school property. The school can't guarantee safe conditions at every place the students visit, so parents must accompany their children if they feel like there is a risk for injury or cover medical costs themselves.
Public or Private Affects the Outcome
Only public schools that are funded with taxpayer money receive protection from the concept of governmental immunity. Private schools that are partially or completely funded by the parents of students are treated more like any other commercial business. Private schools also face premise liability in most states, which is a law that puts the responsibility of safety on the business owner.
However, your private school will also likely offer to cover your child's medical costs through a claim on their insurance policy. Consider this option to save yourself the extra work of a lawsuit.
Other Students Complicate the Case
Finally, discuss your case with a lawyer before making a move when your child's injury resulted from horseplay, bullying, or other interference from a fellow student. Depending on the laws of your state and the evidence surrounding the case, you may get better results from filing your lawsuit against the parents of the student or students instead of the school.