When you send your child to school, you assume they will not only learn something in class, but also be protected against being injured while at the school. However, there are thousands of children who get injured at school each year. When this happens, many questions arise regarding who can be sued. Whether your child was injured while participating in physical education class, riding on a school bus, or other situation, you may think you can automatically file a personal injury lawsuit against the school district. However, it’s often not as simple as this. If you are considering a lawsuit against your child’s school district, it is best if you first seek advice from a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Child Injuries at School
When your child is at school, various injuries may occur that can be serious. For example, if a child is playing dodge ball or kick ball on the playground, they could suffer a concussion, broken bones, lacerations, or other injuries that would require medical treatment. In other situations, your child may be participating in an organized sport such as football, baseball, or soccer, which also lead to serious injuries. In these instances, the school itself or a school employee may not have directly caused your child’s injury, making the question of liability difficult. To determine exactly who was liable for your child’s injuries, you will need to work with a Los Angeles school injury attorney who has handled cases involving school district liability.
How Can a School District be Liable?
When children are injured at school, there are many ways in which the school district may be liable for the injuries. For instance, if another child threw a rock and hit your child, your lawyer for child injuries at school may be able to prove the children were not being properly supervised at the time, and that the school grounds may not have been cleared of dangerous objects such as rocks prior to the children being allowed to play. In other situations, a personal injury lawyer for claims involving minors may show that a student who injured your child had a past history of aggressive behavior that was ignored by school personnel, or that a school bus your child may have been riding on was not properly maintained. Whatever the case may be, always do everything possible to hold a school district accountable for its actions.
Before you run out and try to file an immediate lawsuit against your child’s school district, pursue legal representation so you can discuss how sovereign immunity may apply to your case. Like many branches of local, state, and federal government, school districts are often protected from lawsuits under sovereign immunity. However, there are certain circumstances where that immunity may be waived by the state, which usually involves proving the school district or one of its employees was negligent and that their negligence resulted in your child’s injury. In these instances, you will need to follow strict procedures prior to filing your lawsuit, or it will be dismissed by the court. To make sure the proper steps are taken, let a knowledgeable lawyer handle your case.
Filing the Notice of Claim
Prior to being allowed to file a lawsuit against your child’s school district for its alleged negligence, you will first need to file a notice of claim with the school district. Provided to the district in writing, the notice of claim must contain specific details such as the nature of the accident, injuries sustained by your child, and your demand for compensation, which must be in the form of a specific dollar amount. Once this is filed with the school district, the district is then allowed time to investigate the matter. Since these investigations will be complex and involve numerous people and witnesses, turn your case over to an attorney with a track record of successfully winning these cases.
Notice of Claim Time Limits
If your child is injured while at school, on a school bus, or while participating in a school-sanctioned event, you will not have much time to file a notice of claim. While in most states you may have as little as 60 days after your child’s injury to file your notice of claim, California allows six months from the date of your child’s injury for claims to be filed with school districts. Once filed, the district will then either accept or reject the claim. If the claim is rejected, you then have the authority to file a personal injury lawsuit with the court. Since a school district may use a variety of tricks in an effort to shift blame to your child or others, rely on an experienced lawyer for child injuries at school when filing such a lawsuit.
What if the School District Ignores My Claim?
While it does not happen very often, there are times when a school district will simply choose to ignore a notice of claim filed against it by a parent. If this happens, you will still be allowed to eventually file your lawsuit. However, you may have to wait up to six months before a court will determine the school district has had sufficient time to respond to the allegations. If this happens, it is likely because the school district feels your case is weak. Should this occur, always hire a personal injury lawyer for claims involving minors who will fight hard for you and your child’s rights.
Don’t Miss the Deadline
Should you fail to file your notice of claim within the allotted time frame, the court will generally not allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit. Therefore, don’t procrastinate. Instead, hire a lawyer who knows exactly what to do in these situations.
Should your child be injured due to a school district’s negligence, hold those responsible accountable by scheduling an immediate consultation with an attorney at Grey Law.