A school injury is any injury that is sustained at a school, during school functions and under the supervision of school personnel. This usually refers to child injuries at a primary or secondary school, although school injuries can also involve other employees and adults and occur on a university campus. Some common school injuries include:
- Bruises, scrapes, and cuts from playground accidents
- Injuries resulting from physical education class (P.E. or gym class)
- Injuries resulting from another student, such as when students fight one another
- Student injuries resulting from a special event (such as a play or other presentation)
- Injuries due to the negligent handling of a student
Some school injuries can also occur off school grounds, such as when a student is injured during a field trip. School field trip liability can still be found, especially where a student or other school employee was acting negligently during the field trip (for instance, if they failed to keep account of the location of all students).
Who Can Be Held Liable for a School Injury?
Generally speaking, in order to hold a school district or school employee liable, they must have acted negligently. This means that their conduct was a breach of their duty of care to the student, and that their breach of duty was the cause of a student’s injuries. Thus, school liability for student injuries may often depend on the actions of an individual teacher, coach, or supervisor.
Many school activities that are high-risk will usually require the parent to sign a consent form or waiver. This will release the school from liability, according to the terms of the agreement. For instance, this is the case with school athletic events and contact sports such as football or wrestling. However, a coach or instructor can still be held liable if they are found to be negligent or reckless with a student.
What are Some Legal Consequences of a School Injury?
In most cases, a damages award may be required from the school, which will pay for the losses and medical expenses incurred by the student and their parents. These often involve the intervention of a local or county government agency, which may assist the court in conducting an investigation as to the extent of the injuries and the amount of damages awarded.
In cases involving widespread instances of injury, the school may be required to change their policies, or to take legal action such as firing a negligent coach or teacher. This is often the case with school sports, where the coach oversteps the boundaries of acceptable physical training. Intentional acts that cause a student injury (such as battery) will be met with criminal consequences as well.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With a School Injury Lawsuit?
Suing a school or a school employee is not an easy task. It often requires much investigation and evidence to determine whether a school injury may be attributed to the school, or whether another party is liable. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you have any legal questions or if you need to file a lawsuit over a school injury. Your attorney can help represent you during the process and can advise you of your child’s legal rights.