When a student is injured at school, whether at an extracurricular activity or during a school-sponsored event, the injured student may be able to file a personal injury claim against the school. While school employees are responsible for the students under their care, Kentucky’s sovereign immunity law provides schools and their employees with some legal protections. Anyone considering filing a claim should consider consulting a Louisville personal injury lawyer.
Understanding School Liability
Schools are responsible for protecting the children in their care. The school district and its employees may be liable if an injury occurs because of negligence. In Kentucky, those who have a duty of care must act in good faith. They must adhere to relevant regulations and policies to protect those in their charge. If school employees do not follow the rules or fail to act in good faith, they may be found guilty of negligent supervision.
For an injury to be considered the result of negligent supervision, the action causing the injury must have been foreseeable. For example, leaving chemicals on a counter could lead to a student ingesting a dangerous substance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 374 children under the age of 19 are poisoned every day in the United States by substances left within easy reach. It is foreseeable that injuries can occur when dangerous chemicals are left accessible and unattended.
Schools can also be liable for injuries due to poor maintenance or neglect of school property. Playground equipment should be appropriately maintained. School buildings should not show signs of neglect, such as missing ceiling tiles, wet floors, or tripping hazards. All facilities should meet building standards.
Mitigating School Liability
Kentucky’s sovereign immunity statute is based on the US Constitution’s Eleventh Amendment, which prohibits government agencies from being sued. In Kentucky, sovereign immunity covers discretionary acts or decisions, ministerial acts, executive decisions, and administrative acts unless negligence can be proven. Three areas that can demonstrate possible negligence are a lack of staff training, inadequate maintenance, and inconsistent disciplinary actions.
Schools must provide training to all personnel. For example, teachers must meet documented professional development requirements, including classroom and student behavior management training. Bus drivers must not only pass driving tests but also be trained on school policies for student behavior. Poorly trained personnel could be a reason for inadequate supervision.
Similarly, school boards are responsible for ensuring all school property is maintained and that all facilities meet the applicable safety standards. Buildings should be inspected to ensure they meet fire safety standards. All school vehicles should receive routine maintenance and pass vehicle inspections.
Student conduct and disciplinary actions also play a role in determining liability. Schools should work to maintain a safe environment for all students. Incidents of harassment or bullying should be addressed immediately with any affected students and parents. Disciplinary action should be carried out when student conduct violates school policy.
Legal Rights of Students and Parents
Parents and students have a right to expect that schools will provide a safe and secure environment. When that trust is violated, student injuries can be the outcome. Personal injury claims may be filed even if parents signed parental consent forms or waivers. Personal injury lawyers in Louisville can help you determine if a school is liable.
To help your claim, be sure to do the following:
- Seek medical attention.
- Document any injuries.
- Gather witness statements.
If extended treatment is required, continue documenting all your medical expenses so that you can receive compensation for ongoing care.
Why Contact Personal Injury Lawyers
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim against a school or its employees, remember that public learning facilities are part of the government. They possess the same protections as any government entity. That’s why you need knowledgeable legal representation. Remember this when you’re looking for personal injury lawyers to represent you.
With experienced representation, you can navigate the legal intricacies of sovereign immunity and negligent supervision. Whether your child was harmed due to bullying or was injured while participating in sports, your family will need legal guidance to ensure your voice is heard. You will need support through the government bureaucracy.
Contact Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers Today
Personal injury lawyers such as Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers know the challenges that taking legal action against a school can pose. Even better, they know how to overcome them.
Contact us for a free case assessment. Our team has extensive experience in personal injury law and is ready to help you and your child after an injury at school.