How to Sue a School for an Injury Your Child Suffered

Posted on: 12 August 2020

Folks often think of personal injury lawyers handling cases involving incidents at commercial establishments or people's homes. Schools, however, are also common places for injuries to occur, and yes, personal injury lawyers do pursue claims and suits against them. Let's look at how that process may work in cases involving private and public institutions.

Understand Why Families Sue Schools

Many of the most common reasons for hiring personal injury lawyers apply to cases against schools. Just as you might go to a grocery store and suffer a slip-and-fall accident, the same can happen to your child at school. Food poisoning in cafeterias is a common hazard, too. There are also incidents involving injuries to kids riding on school buses. Negligent security claims are possible, too. These are similar to claims filed against bars, for example, where the failure of the defendant to address patterns of violence leading up to an incident constitutes grounds to sue.

Determine the Legal Standing

A family always has legal standing to sue as long as one person with custody is involved with the case. Non-custodial parents generally don't have standing. Likewise, grandparents, adult siblings, and other parties serving in loco parentis will have to prove to a court that the relationship is a de facto parent-dependent relationship without a custodial parent involved.

Determine What Laws Apply

If you're taking legal action against a private school, the process is the same as dealing with any commercial organization. In most states, you'll have between two and three years to send the defendant and their insurer a demand letter. This puts them on formal notice of your reasons for seeking a claim, what you expect as compensation, and your intent to sue if the matter isn't resolved.

Many states, however, apply much stricter rules when families sue school districts. Claimants often only have between 60–90 days from the time of an incident to send a formal notice for a claim to the district's authorities. The school district will then investigate the case and decide whether it is liable. If the investigation comes back with a finding against you, your only option left will be to sue.

Work with Liability Waivers

Liability waivers are frequently required for certain school activities, especially sports and theater. Although a school might have some defense under a waiver for general negligence, it will likely have trouble making that case if there was gross negligence, wanton disregard, or malicious conduct.

Learn more about the process by contacting personal injury lawyers.