Parents and children alike have awaited states’ decisions to re-open schools. While in-person education and activities have their benefits, they can present unique dangers. Every year, millions of children are injured in accidents—many on or around school grounds. Sometimes, these injuries are caused by acts of negligence on the part of teachers, staff, or other students.
If your child was hurt in school, you might have already considered pursuing legal action. Here is what you need to do to maximize your chances of success.
Building Your Case
Any personal injury claim can be challenging to prove in court, especially if you were too hurt to collect evidence from the scene of an accident. When it comes to children, preserving evidence of an injury or act of negligence can be difficult—especially when it happened at school, where you were unable to witness it.
While you may fear that such a personal injury claim may quickly devolve into a he-said-she-said situation, you can bolster your case by documenting everything you can. Try to obtain critical documents or materials, such as:
- School reports. If a teacher, staff member, or other school employee filed a report documenting your child’s injury, request a copy.
- Photographs. Once your child is home, photograph their injuries from as many angles as you can. If a dangerous condition at school or at a school-affiliated property contributed to the injury, take pictures or record a video of the scene.
- Security cameras. Many schools have security cameras in hallways, cafeterias, and athletic facilities. You or your personal injury attorney may be able to requisition a tape showing exactly how your child’s injury occurred.
- Witness statements. If your complaint moves to trial, having witnesses ready to testify is critical. School administrators may sometimes try to claim that a child’s own negligence caused an accident, even if they know that was not the case. Finding impartial witnesses—like a teacher or school nurse—can be of immense assistance.
Finding Out Who Was Responsible for Your Child’s Injuries
Determining fault when it comes to a school-related accident or injury can be difficult. Your lawsuit will have to detail which specific acts of negligence led to your child’s injury. You can get a start on determining liability by considering where an accident happened as well as its circumstances:
- An accident on a school bus could have been caused by the driver’s inattention or poorly maintained seats or window slides.
- A playground injury could have been caused by a lack of adult supervision, defective playground equipment, or another student’s bullying behavior.
- A slip and fall could have been caused by a janitor forgetting to place “wet floor” signs or sidewalks that were not adequately cleared of snow, rain, or ice after a major weather event.
In some instances, you may find that multiple parties were at fault. If your child was hurt by a bully, for instance, you might need to pursue a claim against that student’s parents, as well as the school if they had received complaints but failed to take any reasonable action to discipline the bully and protect your child.
A personal injury attorney will help you collect evidence, determine who was at fault for the accident, and begin constructing a compelling case so that you can collect the compensation you and your child need to recover.
You Can’t Afford to Lose Time
You will need a personal injury lawyer’s help to determine your next course of action. However, your timeline for filing a claim is largely dependent on whether your child was injured in a public or private school.
While a lawsuit against a private school is very similar to a lawsuit against a private business or organization, public schools may be considered governmental entities: meaning that you will have to take action fast, often within six months. Complaints against governmental entities must adhere to other special rules.
Contact Us Today
If you need help getting justice for your child, send The Case Barnett Law Corporation a message today to schedule your initial consultation.