Schools must take steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of their students. If your child suffers an injury while at school, you may be able to pursue litigation. Schools act in loco parentis for minors, which means they act in the place of a parent. They assume legal responsibility to care for children while they attend school. If a school fails to maintain a safe environment, it's often the students who pay the price.
Don't let your child pay for the mistakes of their school. Many parents have successfully filed personal injury claims against schools who failed to protect their children. You may be able to do the same if you can prove the school's negligence led to an avoidable injury.
If you're interested in litigation, you must consult an attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. He has spent many years advising families in personal injury cases against schools. He can work with you to get the compensation and justice you deserve.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Let's face it: injuries are a fact of life. Students frequently experience unavoidable injuries, such as when playing games or participating in extracurricular sports. In some circumstances, it is difficult for families to sue a school. Whether or not you're able to file a personal injury lawsuit depends on the facts of your case.
In general, you can hold a school accountable for injuries when they failed to prevent foreseeable harm. You may sue a school for negligence if officials knowingly allowed hazards on their campus. To successfully sue a school, you need to show that officials were aware of potential threats and failed to take action to protect their students.
Since schools act in loco parentis, they must remove dangerous conditions that can lead to foreseeable injury. They are responsible for maintaining a safe environment on campus and outside the classrooms. Laws require schools to protect students while they ride school buses, attend school-sponsored events, or participate in extracurricular activities. You should speak with an attorney to determine whether you have a case before filing a lawsuit against a school.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a School
Your ability to sue a school hinges on the circumstances of the injury. However, there are a few common ways parents and students get compensated by schools. Here are some examples of situations where you could potentially pursue litigation:
- Playground injuries: Children who experience injuries on the playground due to defective equipment, a lack of supervision, or dangerous grounds
- Slip and fall injuries: Injuries from falling on a slippery floor such as wet bathrooms, ice-covered cement, or stairs without rails
- Toxins and health hazards: Students exposed to harmful toxins in older buildings or buildings that fail to live up to sanitation codes
- School bus injuries: Children who experience injuries due to a negligent bus driver who gets in an accident
- Fighting injuries: Students who suffer from bullying or abuse from fellow students or even teachers
- Food poisoning: Students who eat contaminated or unsafe food served by the school
Barriers to Personal Injury Litigation
While holding a school responsible for student injuries might sound like a straightforward process, school lawsuits have significant hurdles. One reason why suing a school is difficult is sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a rule that exempts government agencies, such as public schools, from being sued. Although sovereign immunity can make it difficult to sue a school, there are some legal workarounds. You can waive sovereign immunity in personal injury lawsuits as long as you follow procedures.
State law determines the exceptions and procedures for suing public schools. You will need to speak with an attorney to see if you qualify for an exception in your personal injury case. Your attorney can also fill you in on any additional requirements in your area. Many states have strict timelines for personal injury lawsuits against schools. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you meet all deadlines and follow all rules.
How to File a Lawsuit Against a School
The laws for suing schools vary from state to state. In general, your first step in a personal injury lawsuit is to file a notice of claim. A notice of claim includes details about the injury, the nature of the incident, and the compensation requested. You must generally submit your notice of claim within a few months. If you do not meet filing deadlines, you will most likely be unable to pursue litigation.
Once you file your notice of claim, the school district will investigate the injury. You must wait until the school responds to file a lawsuit. If the school denies your claim, you can move forward with litigation. You should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you through this process. They will ensure you hit all deadlines and filing requirements before going to court.
Why You Need an Attorney
While there are many different avenues to a successful lawsuit, the best option is to use an experienced attorney. Many families have lost winnable cases against schools because of simple mistakes. To sue a school, you must follow a delicate set of procedures. An attorney can help you avoid pitfalls and ensure that you put your best foot forward.
An experienced attorney can also prove instrumental to your lawsuit's outcome. They can handle all the dirty work required to hold the school is liable for your injury. From documenting injuries to collecting evidence, attorneys can do what is necessary to achieve a favorable outcome. Attorneys give you the best opportunity to prove school negligence and get the compensation you deserve.
Your Experienced Attorney
From painful rehabilitation to costly medical expenses, there's no denying that injuries can derail your life. If you or someone you know experienced an injury at school, you must contact an attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you seek a settlement and overcome this challenging time.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. For many years, he has fearlessly fought against schools in personal injury cases across the nation. He has helped many students pursue litigation and maximize their recovery. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.