If your child has been injured while at school or on school property, it is natural to want to know your legal recourse. Who is responsible in the eyes of the law? When your child is under the care of the school and the school district, you expect a certain degree of liability–but there may be more to it than that.
Was the act intentional or negligent?
This is the first question that needs to be answered. If your child was injured by playground bullying, was there any adult employee in charge of keeping the kids safe? Or was your child intentionally abused by an adult employee of the school? If so, the entire hiring and background check process can come into question. Many of these issues overlap, as employee negligence or intent can often be difficult to separate. It is also possible that your child’s injuries was truly due to a complete accident.
What constitutes Negligence by the School?
While children are at school, the school and district are required to provide for the child’s needs in a similar way to the parents. They must provide shelter, food, transportation, and a safe school environment. Oftentimes in cases of scholastic negligence, the school has come up short in one or more of these categories. If the school fails to comply with standards of childcare, and the student is injured because of this failure, then the school is negligent and may be responsible for some or all of the costs associated with the injury.
School: Private or Public?
The last thing to consider is the nature of the school. If your child’s school is public, then the school is considered a government entity and has more strict procedures that a lawsuit must follow. If your child was injured at a private school, the organization may be a non-profit, private or religiously protected entity. In this case, your legal cause will most likely be the same as a personal injury claim. In this case there are not usually any specific procedures to your claim, and you must file a personal injury lawsuit.