All parents have had a moment of fear or apprehension when they first drop their child off at school: what if they get hurt? From violent playground bullies to school bus accidents, there are all kinds of ways for children to have a school injury – and since you can’t be there to prevent them or help your child, you have to rely on others to do so.
Sometimes, though, kids still get hurt, and when they do it can cost you big time in medical bills, lost wages, and more. Parents expect to have to pay for the mistakes of their children – but what it if wasn’t your child who made the mistake? What if their injuries were due to the negligence of someone else?
Schools May Be Subject to Premises Liability Lawsuits
If you injure yourself on another person’s property, that person may be liable for your injuries. Schools, like any other property owner, have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the guests that enter the property.
That not only means that the building itself must be well-maintained, but also external areas such as the playground. If a playground has broken equipment, or leaky roofs cause slippery floors, the school may be held liable for resulting injuries.
In addition to faulty equipment and poor maintenance, students may also be harmed by other students – or even school faculty.
Kids will be kids, and roughhousing is expected, but teachers or school staff should be present in order to break up a fight before things get bad. Schools have a duty to hire enough staff to reasonably watch the students in order to prevent these types of injuries.
Likewise, the staff has to be properly screened so that dangerous adults are not hired and put in charge of children.
When Is the School Not Liable?
While you may sue a school for injuries that occur while school is in session and if your child is hurt on school property, there are no guarantees in regards to accidents that happen when your child is going to and from school or outside of school hours.
If a student walks to school and is hit by a car, for example, the school may not be liable for the child’s injuries. Schools may also be able to avoid liability if a playground injury happens on a weekend, after school has been dismissed for the day, or during summer vacation.
If your child is injured on the school bus, you may not be able to sue the school directly, but you still have options for filing a lawsuit against the driver or the company that hired the driver. These lawsuits will heavily depend on who caused the accident in the first place. If your child takes public transportation to school, you may have a completely different lawsuit on your hands.
No Matter What, You Need to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
If your child attends a New York public school, you may face additional barriers to filing a lawsuit. For example, you have to file a notice of claim with a government administrative agency within 90 days of your child’s injury. Then the agency has to respond to the claim. If they reject it, you can then proceed with filing the claim in civil court.
If your child attends a private school, you can proceed with filing a civil lawsuit like you would with any other property or business.
Either way, you may face both opposition and public attention. Claims against schools often make headlines. Lawyers for the school may try and settle out of court in order to keep attention away from the case.
Do not negotiate with these lawyers until you have consulted a New York personal injury lawyer. Legal counsel can help you build the best case and get the compensation you and your child deserve.