Claims or Lawsuits Against a School or School District
Every child has a right to safety, health, and happiness everywhere they go. At school, teachers and staff shouldn’t just be focused on education, but on the health and safety of the children they supervise.
Unfortunately, some schools fail in their duty to keep children healthy and safe. Children who are injured at school or on school-supervised trips may have the right to file a claim against their school or school district.
Reasons for claims against a school or school district may include:
- Injuries caused by a teacher or staff member’s failure to adequately supervise students
- Injuries caused by a teacher behaving improperly towards students
- Injuries after a fall from improperly built or maintained equipment on school grounds
- Injuries after being struck by a car on school grounds, if those grounds were improperly maintained in such a way that drivers could not see pedestrians
- Injuries caused by a school bus crash or fire
- Injuries including mental health issues caused by sexual abuse by a teacher or staff member
- Injuries including mental health issues caused by sexual abuse by another student who was not adequately supervised
- Injuries caused by bullying when teachers or staff members knew about the problem but failed to intervene
What you need to know about claims involving minors
If you are the parent or guardian of a minor child, you should know that children have a special set of legal rights. This makes child injury claims significantly different from adult injury claims.
- In adult injury cases, the statute of limitations in Washington state is typically 3 years. For children under the age of 18, the statute of limitations is typically extended.
- In most personal injury cases, a parent or guardian must file a claim on behalf of a minor child. Children under 18 usually cannot hire a personal injury attorney on their own.
- Parents or guardians who were responsible for a child’s mental and physical health care costs as the result of an accident, injury, or traumatic event can file a claim for those costs.
- If parents or guardians lost wages while caring for their child after an accident, injury, or traumatic event, they may have a legal claim for those lost wages.
- If a child is so seriously injured that they may never be able to work, they may have a legal claim for future lost wages.
- While adults are held to certain standards when courts evaluate their negligence in causing or contributing to an accident, children are held to different standards. Courts understand that children do not have the same judgement and foresight as adults.
- Settling a child injury claim or lawsuit requires approval by the court.
- If a child receives a settlement or claim, those funds may not always be released immediately. In some cases, those funds will be placed in a trust account on behalf of the child until they are 18 years old.
- In wrongful death claims, many different people may potentially serve as the executor (aka administrator, personal representative). In cases involving the wrongful death of a child, the parent is usually the executor.
- In cases involving a minor child, a guardian ad litem may be required.
Read Attorney Chris Davis’s Book On Child Injury Claims
Need to know more about the laws surrounding child injury claims? Attorney Chris Davis has written a free book about the nuances of accident and injury cases involving children. This book answers common legal questions that parents and guardians may have about child injury cases. It also can help parents and guardians understand the process of seeking legal representation for their child.