Schools are legally obligated to take care of their students. If your child is hurt in an accident at school, their school can be held liable in a lawsuit.
Generally, a school can be held liable for your child’s injuries if the school’s negligence was the direct cause of the injuries. Since a public school is legally considered a government entity, there are strict deadlines and procedures to follow when filing a lawsuit. Reasons to sue your child’s school might include negligent teachers, unsafe conditions on campus, or exposure to dangerous activities. You can claim a variety of damages related to your child’s injuries, like medical bills and pain and suffering.
If your child was injured in an accident at school, the school can be held liable in a lawsuit. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help your child get justice from those who let them down. For a free case review, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a School for Your Child’s Injuries in New Jersey
If your child is hurt in an accident or incident at their school, you can file a lawsuit against the school and hold them liable for your child’s damages. Like many other personal injury cases, a lawsuit against your child’s school will likely be based on negligence.
Proving negligence requires showing that the school owed your child a duty of care, violated their duty of care, and that violation was the direct cause of your child’s injuries. You will also have to show that the damages in your case are real and not hypothetical or only possibilities.
Suing a school is not like suing an ordinary individual. There are different rules, procedures, and deadlines for suing a public school because they are considered government entities. While the ordinary statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 2 years, plaintiffs must operate under a shorter deadline when suing a government or public entity like a public school. You must serve notice of your claim no later than the 90th day of the accrual of the claim, according to N.J.S.A. § 59:8-8.
This means you only have 90 days beginning on the day your child was injured to serve notice upon the school of your lawsuit. This very limited time window requires that our Jersey City personal injury attorneys work fast to get your claims to court, and the sooner we can begin, the better.
Reasons You Can Sue Your Child’s School for an Injury in New Jersey
There are various ways a child might get hurt while at school, and the school can be held liable in many of these situations. Below are some common reasons schools can be sued for injuries to children. Our Newark personal injury lawyers have experience with various lawsuits against schools and can help you get compensation for your child.
One such example is the negligent hiring of teachers. According to N.J.S.A. § 59:2-10, the school is not liable for conduct by teachers that amounts to a crime, fraud, or malicious or willful misconduct. Essentially, if a teacher did something like assault your child and injure them, only the teacher can be held liable for the assault.
However, the school can be sued under a theory of negligent hiring if it should have known that the teacher was prone to violence. For example, teachers are usually required to submit to extensive background checks before being hired. If a potential teacher has a violent criminal record, the school may be deemed negligent for hiring them in the first place.
You can also sue the school under a theory of premises liability if your child was injured because of unsafe conditions at the school. Uneven stairs, slippery hallways, gas leaks, faulty wiring, and numerous other structural hazards may cause severe injuries to students. The school has a legal duty to repair or eliminate any known hazards and make reasonable inspections for possible unknown hazards. The school can be held liable if your child was injured because of these unsafe conditions.
Exposure to Dangerous Activities
You can also sue the school if your child was injured because the school exposed them to dangerous activities. For example, suppose your high school student was in science class working with chemicals, a Bunsen burner, or something else that requires safety precautions. Now assume that no safety precautions (e.g., eye goggles, gloves, supervision) were provided, and your child was hurt. You can sue the school for exposing your child to danger and failing to protect them.
Damages Available in a Lawsuit Against Your Child’s School for Injuries in New Jersey
The damages available in a lawsuit against your child’s school are similar to damages in many other personal injury lawsuits. Economic damages like medical bills can certainly be claimed, and non-economic damages like emotional and physical pain and suffering are also on the table. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you calculate your damages and maximize your potential compensation.
Your child might have needed medical attention after being injured, and those medical bills should be included in your damages calculations. You can include the bills you already incurred in addition to bills you have not yet incurred but expect to in the future. Medical treatment is often ongoing and may continue even after a lawsuit is over.
Depending on how the accident happened, your child might have lost personal belongings. For example, in a school bus accident, your child might have lost their cell phone or expensive laptop computer. The cost of these items should be added to your overall damages.
The mental and physical pain and suffering from your child’s injuries also deserve compensation. These damages are more subjective and open to interpretation because they do not have a predetermined value. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you argue for these damages by demonstrating how they have negatively affected your child’s daily life.
Call Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys for Advice
If your child was hurt at school, you can file a lawsuit against the school and claim damages for your child’s injuries and suffering. Speak to our New Jersey personal injury attorneys about scheduling a free case evaluation. Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 for assistance.