Liability for injuries sustained at a school is a complex subject. Lawsuits or claims for injuries at school fall under the areas of the law referred to a premises liability. The essence of these types of cases is that schools (and other buildings’ owners) have a legal duty to maintain safe grounds for students (or other rightful visitors). If they fail to uphold their duty and a student is injured then as a result, the student’s parents can file a lawsuit against the school to recover damages.
The caveat to school injuries is that if it’s a public school, it might be shielded from liability, as per Pennsylvania’s sovereign immunity laws. Sovereign immunity disqualifies many cases, but not all. There are some exceptions to the rule.
Liability for Public Schools
If the school or daycare is private, it has no particular immunity from liability. Public schools do. As per the Sovereign Immunity Act, the Commonwealth is immune from civil liability lawsuits.
There are eight exceptions to this rule, though, a couple of which might pertain to a school injury case. For example, if the injury occurred on a school bus, you might be able to pursue still a claim because of the vehicle liability exception. Likewise, because of the sixth exemption involving animals, you can still sue the state if the injury occurred during an incident involving a state-controlled animal at school, such as a police dog or horse at an assembly.
Proving a School Injury Case
If you are eligible to file a premises liability claim against a private or public school, you will need to be able to prove the following.
- Your child is a student at that school. (Trespassers or uninvited guests might not be owed a legal duty of care)
- The school administration must have been negligent in some manner. For example, they could have failed to properly maintain playground equipment, failed to address a bully situation, or had negligent security that allowed for a school shooting.
- If it weren’t for the school’s negligence, your child would not have been hurt.
School Liability Cases are Tricky, Let Cordisco & Saile LLC Help
Naturally, the parent of any child hurt at school will want to investigate legal options. Holding a school liable for your son or daughter’s harm will not only help pay for medical bills, counseling, and pain and suffering, but it could also wind up preventing other kids from being hurt in the future.
A child injury attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC in Pennsylvania will be happy to evaluate your case and explain your options. For a free consultation, call 215-642-2335 or fill out our online contact form.