Was Your Child Injured at School?
Many types of serious, injury-causing accidents can occur at school. Playground accidents, slip and fall accidents, , auto accidents in the surrounding school zone, field trip accidents, sports injuries, and those caused by negligent supervision are just some of types of accidents can all trigger your child’s legal right to compensation. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271. Our Los Angeles school injury attorneys have represented personal injury victims across Southern California. We can help you enforce your child’s legal right to compensation for any type of injury that occurred at school.
It is important to understand who may be sued for an injury that occurs at school. Governmental immunity laws can prevent public government entities (such as school districts) from being sued for negligence. However, Section 820(a) of the California Government Code provides that public employees (such as school teachers and staff) are liable for causing injuries to the same extent as a private person. These two provisions can cause conflict in litigation. A school district might argue that it is protected by governmental immunity, while the victim’s attorney must argue that the district is still liable for the negligence of its employees. These are complicated legal issues that can affect your child’s legal rights. It is important to consult with a San Jose school accident lawyer about your child’s right to compensation.
There are also many school accidents that involve third parties (such as a driver in the parking lot, or the manufacturer of defective playground equipment). These defendants are not government entities, and will not be protected by government immunity. Private schools are also not protected by government immunity laws.
School employees have a legal duty to supervise students. Negligent supervision of students could lead to liability – or even a finding of gross negligence. This is particularly true when students have access to dangerous equipment or machinery. Chemistry labs, wood shops, and driver’s education vehicles can all be highly dangerous to children. Sports equipment can also cause serious injuries. A teacher or coach who leaves students unsupervised around this dangerous equipment could be found grossly negligent.
School staff members also have a legal duty to supervise children’s behavior. If an unruly child is not properly disciplined, and later causes injury to another student, this could lead a jury to find that the teacher was negligent. The duty to supervise can be heightened based upon a student’s needs. A 2003 case found that school staff had a heightened duty to supervise a special education student. (In this case, the failure to do so led to a brutal sexual assault which caused devastating injuries to a vulnerable special education student.) This and other case law have made it clear: California teachers have a duty to supervise students carefully.
Some school accidents are caused by defective equipment or products. Manufacturers of all consumer goods are held to standards of strict liability. This makes it easier for parents to sue the manufacturer of defective playground equipment, sports equipment, desks, and other products that could injure a student.
School Zone Auto Accidents
School zones are hectic. There is lots of activity, many drivers, and children crossing the road in unexpected places. Drivers must be especially cautious when driving in a school zone. (This is why the speed limit is lowered near schools.) If a driver fails to do so, he or she has a legal obligation to compensate accident victims for their injuries. Bus drivers and other school employees can also be liable for causing auto accidents.
Slip and fall accidents can occur almost anywhere – even at school. Because school employees can be liable for injuries, they can be liable for causing a slip and fall. There are many conditions that could cause a child to slip and fall at school. Roof leaks, mopped floors, food spills in the cafeteria, spilled paint in the art room, and many other conditions could all lead to a slip and fall injury. When staff members cause these dangerous conditions, it may be possible to hold their employer liable for any injuries caused.
Negligent Hiring and Supervision of District Employees
In California, employers are vicariously liable for negligence committed by their employees. This extends only to actions taken in the “course and scope” of employment. Intentional misdeeds – such as physical assault, sexual assault, and other crimes – are outside the scope of the employee’s duties. In such cases, the employer is not vicariously liable for the crimes committed by its employees. However: an employer can be directly liable for its own negligence in hiring or supervising employees. In the case of a crime committed by a teacher, the victim could prove that the district was negligent in hiring the teacher or supervising his or her activities at school.
Different rules of liability apply for injuries that occur off-campus. In general, a school district is not liable for injuries sustained on a field trip, though there may be certain circumstances in which a parent could successfully pursue a personal injury claim. By contrast, a school district is generally liable for injuries sustained at a school-sponsored activity at which attendance credit may be given. Education Code section 44808 allows for liability where the “… district, board, or person has undertaken to provide transportation for such pupil to and from the school premises, has undertaken a school-sponsored activity off the premises of such school, has otherwise specifically assumed such responsibility or liability or has failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.”
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles School Injury Attorney
An accident involving a school can present many complicated legal issues. It is important for parents to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after any school accident in order to best protect their families’ legal rights. The experienced Los Angeles school injury attorneys at Deldar Legal have helped many parents protect their children’s legal rights. Call (844) 335-3271 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.