Can a School Be Sued for Injury to Students – Teacher and District Liability
Every year tens of thousands of students suffer severe injuries in school. In many instance such injuries could have been prevented if school administrators and employees acted within the scope of their duty to protect student from foreseeable harm. In such case students have the right to seek compensation for injuries they have suffered. Below is important information for minors and their parents who are seeking legal remedy for damages suffered due to the negligence of schools.
Common Accidents Where School Can Be Held Liable
- Accidents during physical education classes.
- Harm causes by a defective product purchased and or used by the district.
- Failure to maintain a safe premises on campus grounds resulting in the incident.
- School bus and transportation vehicle accidents.
- Sexual abuse and molestation by school employees including teachers and staff.
- Assault and battery by employees or fellow students.
- Failure to provide reasonable supervision of students.
Establishing Liability – Negligence Bases Cause of Action
There are several elements which need to be shown in order to prove the existence of a negligence based lawsuit in the court of law.
- Duty: Under the law every individual have a duty to act in a manner a reasonably prudent person would in a specific situation. The duty can be either to refrain to acting in a certain manner or a positive duty where an individual must act in order to preserve the life and health of another. For example a school district employee charged with the maintenance of a schools pool has a duty inspect the pool and see if there are any hazardous conditions inside the water.
- Breach of a duty of care: Breach of a duty will take place when an individual fails to adhere to actions that would have been taken by a RPP or reasonably prudent person. For example if a reasonably prudent Physical Education teacher would have inspected the floor of a basketball court before students were to play on it but in reality the teacher failed to do so then a basis for breach of a duty would be established.
- Causation: The breach of the duty of reasonable care was the proximate and foreseeable cause of the incident. For proximate cause the questions that is asked is “But-for the breach of duty of the breeching party the incident would not have take place”. For example: But for the failure of the PE teacher to inspect the basketball court the student would not have been injured. The aspect of causation of foreseeability: Under this theory the defendant is only liable for an accident or injury that would be foreseeable to a reasonably prudent person. For example a student tripping over a piece of paneling on the fool that was sticking out of the ground is a foreseeable harm that may have taken place.
- Damages: The at fault party suffered actual injuries that can be identified.
Recovery Available for Student Victims
Victims of personal injury caused by the actions of others are entitled to compensation for all damages incurred. Specific damages compensable in such cases include the following..
– All medical and rehabilitation costs.
– Costs of future medical and rehabilitation care.
– Pain and suffering including mental anguish and psychological harm.
– Economic damages including loss of income and future loss of earning capacity.
– Punitive damages: When the at fault party acted with the intent to cause harm or reckless disregard for the life and health of others.
Attorney Representation: If you have any further questions regarding the filing of a lawsuit against a public or private school district for injuries suffered by a student feel free to contact our law offices. All legal