Was This Action Intentional or Negligent?
This is the first question that should be answered to determine who may be ultimately responsible for your child’s injury. Intentional offenses in which a child suffers an injury may include bullying from another student. However, it can also occur in the form of adult-induced harm, such as when a school employee acts inappropriately with a student.
In the case of bullying, the offending student’s parents may be liable for your child’s injuries, depending on the circumstances of the bullying. The school can also be held responsible for failing to prevent the bullying if the school had reason to know that the bullying may be happening.
Likewise, if an adult employee at the school is the offender, the school district may be held liable for its failure to conduct appropriate background checks or provide proper training or supervision.
Many of these issues overlap with the area of neglect. If your child’s injury is the result of an accident, it may have been caused by the negligence of the school or other organization. If your child has been severely injured at school, they may be eligible for Social Security benefits for children.
What Types of Behavior Constitute Negligence in School?
While children are in school, the school is responsible for providing care in the same way that parents or guardians do. Schools are required to provide students with a generally safe environment, which often includes food, transportation, and accommodations. It also means that there are plenty of opportunities for schools to fail in their duty to provide a safe environment.
As a general rule, if a school fails to meet the accepted standards of care in providing these services and a student is injured as a result of that failure, the school may be held liable for an accident. Remember, a school can be held liable if its ignorance has caused your child to experience long-term or short-term disability issues. It is each school’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for each student.
The following are some examples of how your child may become injured at school and who may be liable for the damages:
School bus accidents may be related to:
- The carelessness of a bus driver or school district employee
- The school district’s or bus company’s failure to provide adequate driver training
- Poorly designed buses or faulty vehicle equipment
- Negligence of another driver involved in the crash
Injuries on the playing field can result from:
- Lack of adequate adult supervision
- Playground equipment that is poorly maintained by the school
- Playground equipment that is dangerously designed by the manufacturer
Food poisoning incidents can result from:
- School staff who improperly prepare or store food
- Contaminated foods that is supplied by external suppliers or manufacturers
Slips and falls on school grounds can be caused by:
- School premises that are poorly maintained
- Poorly installed or faulty building materials
- The school’s failure to keep walkways clear of hazards, such as ice and snow
Does It Matter Whether the School is Public or Private?
If you file a disability claim following an accident at a public school, the school will generally be considered a government entity under state law. For this reason, there are rigorous processes that you must follow if you want to file an injury claim or take legal action against the school.
If your child was injured at a private school, the organization you are looking to hold liable could be a nonprofit organization, possibly even a local diocese or synagogue. There are generally no specific procedural rules for filing a complaint against this type of entity.
If you believe that a private school or one of its employees is responsible for the injury, you can hold them responsible by filing a personal injury lawsuit with the civil court system in your state.
Whom Should You Sue for Your Child’s Injury?
As always, whom you should sue will depend on the unique facts of your case. In general, however, you may be able to sue:
- A teacher or staff member, if their action (or inaction) has caused your child’s injury
- The principal or the administrator of the school
- The school bus driver
- The manufacturer of a defective product or the person who defectively installed a product that caused your child’s injury
- A contractor or repairman that works at the school and may have contributed to your child’s accident
- The parents of a student who bullied or hurt your child (You may be able to file criminal charges against the student, depending on the circumstances)
In the event of food poisoning, you can sue:
- The freezer or refrigerator manufacturer if a faulty appliance failed to keep food at a safe temperature
- The staff who prepared the food
- The supervisor who is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of the kitchen
Holding the responsible party accountable for your child’s injury can help you pursue the compensation you need. We understand how upsetting it can be to see your child in pain. And you can — and should — hold any parties involved accountable for your child’s injury. But even if your child qualifies for disability benefits after their injury, each case is unique and has its own set of complications. The option that is best for you will be determined by the facts of your case.
If your child’s injury prevents them from living their daily lives without significant limitations, a disability lawyer can help you move forward. For comprehensive assistance, contact an attorney for guidance as soon as possible.