What Are Good Reasons to Sue a School in California?

It’s not easy to be a parent. You’re busy and stressed, and it’s your number one responsibility to keep your child safe. But then, you’re required to entrust your child’s well-being to a school for almost 40 hours per week.

It’s scary, and when the unthinkable happens, it’s gut-wrenching. Sometimes, kids encounter harm at school — whether it’s physical or emotional harm

And while that’s never a good thing, it’s not always a reason to sue the school. So, what are good reasons to sue a school in California? And if you have one of those reasons, what should you do next?

You’re in the right place to find out. With in-depth experience suing California schools, our top Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer and the Case Barnett Law team is prepared to walk you through what you need to know and, if applicable, fight for justice for your family. Read on to learn more.

child alone in school in california

What Is the Point of Suing a School?

Before we jump head-first into reasons to file a lawsuit against a school, we should get to the main point: Why would you want to sue a school in the first place? If the harm is already done, why does it matter?

It’s understandable that you might be hesitant to sue a school even if your child is hurt. But there are two main reasons why it can be not just a great idea, but absolutely necessary to sue a school:

  • Financial compensation. Injuries, whether they are physical or emotional, are expensive. They require treatment that can sometimes go on for years, and that’s not to mention the emotional impact of the pain your child is experiencing. While true one-for-one justice may not be possible, substantial financial compensation can get the wrong one step closer to being righted.
  • Preventing future incidents. Regardless of whether money is involved in the situation, there’s another benefit to suing a school in some cases. If it happened to your child, it could happen to another child. But if you sue the school, you bring the issue to light and, hopefully, stop it from happening to others in the future. In other words, sometimes it’s just plain the right thing to do.

Reasons to Sue a School

You might disagree with a teacher’s approach to a particular school subject, but is that reason to sue a school? Probably not. 

But there are dozens of real reasons to sue California schools. Here are five of the most common ones:

1. Sexual Abuse

When sexual abuse happens at a school, it’s likely to become a criminal matter. But in many cases, it can become a civil matter, too. That’s when you sue the school for allowing sexual abuse to happen.

School sexual abuse can have decades-long effects on a child’s physical and mental health and well-being. Addressing these problems is likely to warrant an enormous amount of compensation. 

And make no mistake — this is a common issue in schools not just in California but throughout the country.

2. Injuries Caused by Accidents

Accidents happen, but schools have a responsibility to prevent them in any way they reasonably can. When they fail in that responsibility and your child is hurt as a result, you may have a solid reason to sue the school.

Injuries that lead to school lawsuits can happen in a number of ways. If, for example, a custodian left a freshly mopped floor wet without a warning sign, any slip-and-fall that resulted could blow back on the school.

Meanwhile, if an accident happens on a playground and your child is injured, a school employee was likely in charge or supervising the playground to prevent exactly the type of accident that happened. That’s called negligent supervision, and it could lead to a lawsuit.

3. Injuries Caused by Bullying

Bullying isn’t just a fact of life we have to sit back and accept it. Yes, it happens, but schools are supposed to address it and prevent it from spiraling out of control. When they don’t do that, they may be liable for injuries that result.

4. Injuries During Sports

You probably signed a waiver to let your child play school sports. But if they got hurt, you may still be able to sue the school. These waivers don’t cover every situation, and an attorney can advise you on your legal options no matter what kind of waiver you signed.

5. Emotional Trauma

Many incidents that can occur at school can lead to long-term emotional trauma for your child. And while this injury may show no outward signs, it can have profound effects on your child’s life.

Whether it’s from abuse, harassment, bullying, an injury or something else, your child deserves justice when they’ve suffered emotional trauma. And suing the school may help you give that justice to them.

Even with a Great Reason, Suing a School Isn’t Easy

Your case could be completely obvious, but you could still lose. It’s sad, but true justice isn’t always done in the courts. That’s because some large defendants — such as school districts — can afford teams of attorneys who work around the clock to delegitimize your case and, by extension, reduce your compensation.

If they’re going to have attorneys, you’re probably going to want one, too. If the at-fault school district is Goliath and you’re David, the right attorney can be like your sling — the legal weapon that makes victory happen, no matter how unlikely a win may feel right now. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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