Personal injury lawsuits are common following an accident. The money obtained from these cases can assist in recovering damages.
That said, is it possible to sue the school district if an accident causes severe injuries to a student? Does governmental immunity hinder suing these institutions? Read on to find out the laws governing these situations.
School District Governmental Immunity
Injuries on school property are pretty common. While some of these accidents are caused by unsafe physical conditions on school grounds, others are caused by the students themselves.
School districts have immunity from litigation for school buses, school drivers, and other school district vehicles. This immunity may ban a person from suing the school under specified conditions. If the accident was not caused by negligence or a breach of duty of care, the bus driver is protected from litigation.
However, negligence, breach of duty and intentional harm leading to the accident may be solid grounds for a lawsuit. Negligence occurs through neglecting repairs and general care of school buses. Additionally, situations like lack of safety features in a bus and outside factors like bad weather can still warrant a lawsuit despite school district sovereign immunity.
“There are a lot of regulations surrounding school district lawsuits. Therefore, hiring a lawyer to evaluate the incident is crucial before filing a lawsuit” says Andrew S. Kryder of The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers.
Claims Against the School
So, when can you recover damages after an accident? One of the situations where compensation is warranted is cases of severe injuries. Minor issues such as broken bones or scrapes may not be solid grounds for a claim.
On the other hand, serious injuries passing a certain threshold of medical bills could be compensated. This includes compensation for medical bills, therapy, pain, suffering, trauma and distress.
An individual may still decide to proceed with a lawsuit, even for accidents without severe injuries. This often happens when the same school keeps reporting accidents from actions of negligence that go unresolved.
In this case, they will have to collect a lot of data on the school buses and drivers. In addition, they must have supporting medical reports to build a strong case against the school.
If possible, their legal team may interview other students and use their statements as testimonies in court. All these factors may be used to convince a judge or jury that the accident was caused out of negligence.
Similarly, a school is liable for accidents caused by dangerous physical conditions such as unsafe equipment, poor electrical wiring and other toxic materials. School staff like teachers and coaches who intentionally expose students to harm may also be sued.
Exceptions for school liability include
- Injuries occurring on school property outside school hours
- Injuries involving organized sports
- Injuries occurring on school property outside school-sponsored events
Schools have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for students. This includes eliminating hazardous conditions and observing their care duty. When any of the staff neglects their duty leading to severe injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the school.
Always remember that public schools have immunity from liability in certain conditions. To file a successful lawsuit against a school, ensure you follow the rules for notifying the claim and providing the required details within the specified period. Ensure you hire a lawyer to oversee the process.