Children Hurt at School: Who is Responsible for School Accident Claims?


Children Hurt at School: Who is Responsible for School Accident Claims?

If your child is injured in an accident while at school, you may learn of the accident by phone and not know the details of what actually happened to cause your child injury until much later, after the event itself. Your first priority, of course, will be to get to your child and make sure they are getting the proper medical treatment. And afterwards, to make sure that they are comfortable at home and getting the necessary care and support as they recover.

Accidents of all sorts can result in injuries to children on school property or during school activities. They can be involved in a traffic accident going to school or on their way back home, hit by a car while walking or riding their bike, or maybe being involved in a traffic accident or school bus crash. Kids are hurt during school sports; concussions are a real danger for student athletes, especially those playing football or soccer. Children can also be hurt from slip and falls on school hallways; and more and more often, kids are hurt during episodes of violence on school property.

Sadly, the State of Indiana has budgeted less money this year for school safety. There is less money allotted now for Indiana school districts to do things like hiring school police officers and purchasing safety equipment for Indiana schools. See, “School safety grant program cut in new Indiana budget,” published by WANE.com for details.

If Your Child Is Hurt at School, Do You Have an Injury Claim to Assert on Their Behalf?

Under Indiana and Illinois law, school district administrators as well as school teachers, coaches, aides, etc., all have a legal duty to do everything reasonable to keep the kids safe from harm.  When a parent entrusts their beloved child to the school, that school takes on a legal duty that is called “in loco parentis” — a Latin phrase meaning “in the place of the parent.”

If they fail to keep a child safe and the child is hurt, then the school district as well as the individual teacher or coach may be held legally liable for damages if they were negligent in protecting the child.

  • School facilities must be safe for children.   It’s the job of the school district to make sure that the children are in safe surroundings while they are in school. Things like electrical wiring must be monitored; smoke alarms need to be working; buses should be properly maintained, etc.
  • School activities need to be safe, too.   If a child is playing football, for example, then the coach needs to make sure that helmets are in good condition and properly worn. If a child has symptoms of illness, then that child needs to be given medical attention.

Claims may be asserted against the school district as well as employees of the school for negligence that has caused the accident which has hurt your child.  These claims may be resolved by way of settlement or may be determined after the filing of a civil lawsuit brought by the parents on behalf of the child against the school district.

If your child is hurt at school, then you may have a legal claim for damages (including medical expenses, rehab and therapy costs, etc.) to file against the school district. The key will be determining if a legal duty by the school has been violated and legal negligence can be established.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you assess the circumstances of your child’s accident and subsequent injuries and determine what claims you have and what damages are involved.

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