My Child Was Injured at School – Who Is Liable?
September 8, 2021
Unfortunately, millions of children are injured at school or during school activities each year. If your child was hurt at school, you will obviously want to know who you can hold liable to compensate your family for the harm your child has suffered. Liability for school injuries will depend on the facts and circumstances that led to a child being injured.
Negligence vs. Intentional Acts
One factor that can affect liability for school injuries includes whether the injuries arose from intentional acts or negligence. Examples of intentional acts that lead to school injuries including bullying or fighting, as well as abuse inflicted by a teacher or other school staff member. When a child is hurt by a classmate, the parents of that classmate might be held liable for their child’s assault and battery.
If abuse is inflicted by a school staff member, the school district can be held vicariously liable for the staff member’s tortious conduct, or the district might be held directly liable for its own negligence in failing to conduct a proper background check or failing to appropriately train and supervise the abusive staffer.
When a student is injured at school due to some act or omission of negligence by the school and staffers, the school district can also be held liable in a claim of negligence. Schools have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for students. This means exercising appropriate supervision over students and eliminating any dangerous or hazardous conditions from school property.
Public vs. Private School
Another factor that can have an effect on liability for a school injury includes whether the school is public or private. Public schools are considered government entities. The government’s liability for torts or for negligence is strictly limited by law. In particular, the Tort Claims Act requires that a school district be provided with prompt notice of a legal claim for a student’s injury. Untimely notice can lead to the loss of the claim.
Private schools typically can be sued like any other private organization, although charitable immunity under state law may come into effect if a private school is associated with a religious or charitable organization.
Examples of Negligence by School Officials
Examples of negligence that can lead to claims against a school district include:
- A school bus accident caused by the bus driver’s negligence or the district failure to maintain the bus
- A playground accident caused by defectively installed equipment, a lack of maintenance of the playground, or the failure of teachers and staff to supervise students
- Food poisoning caused by improper storage of food or lack of food safety procedures in the cafeteria
- Sports accidents caused by inadequate supervision
- Slip/trip and fall accidents caused by broken staircases or by snow and ice that were not treated or removed
- Exposure to hazardous substances, including asbestos or lead that may still be in older school buildings
- Injuries from violence or natural disasters, which result from the school’s failure to undertake emergency preparedness or to implement safety procedures like evacuations or shelter-in-place, or the failure to install and maintain safety equipment like fire alarms, surveillance cameras, or locks on doors
Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your School Accident Case in New Jersey
Was your child injured at school in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of school accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.