Our children are our lives, and we love them more than anything. That’s why it’s so painful for us when we see them in pain. No matter how much you love your child, it’s impossible to keep them from harm 365 days a year. When you enroll your child in school, you are trusting the institution with their safety. When the school fails and your child suffers an injury, you deserve compensation for the school’s inability to protect your child in your absence.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an estimated 2.2 million children sustain school-related injuries each year, and one in 14 suffers a medically attended or temporarily disabling injury.
If you want a proper fight against your child’s school system, you’ll need to find a Sherman Oaks lawyer for school-based child injuries to fight for you. At Okhovat Law Firm, we represent cases involving minors to fight for coverage of your hospital bills and emotional damages.
Making a Claim Against the School
To start making your claim, you will need to document everything that happened from the original accident to the gut-wrenching phone call to the medical treatment your child receives. Having a thorough documentation of that day and the days following will make for a stronger case and a more streamlined legal process. Having evidence of negligence on the school’s part is crucial to ensuring that you get proper compensation. Some examples of evidence you should collect are listed below:
- Surveillance Footage – Schools typically have security cameras throughout the halls, classrooms, and outside facing the playground and parking lot. Contact a faculty member about any footage that may exist of your child’s accident. Not all security footage is kept indefinitely, as many places don’t have the space to keep months’ worth of archives, so it’s best to obtain it sooner rather than later.
- Eyewitness Accounts – You can interview those who saw the accidents and events leading up to it. In these kinds of investigations, it’s possible that someone nearby saw something that they don’t even know is valuable to your case. You can interview teachers or even the school nurse as they tend to your child’s injuries. However, keep in mind that school staff may not be overly willing to speak against their place of employment.
- Photos – Take as many photos as possible. It doesn’t have to be a fancy camera; your phone is fine. Take photos of your child’s injuries, both wide shots and close-up. Also take photos showing the healing process. Also, take many photos of the scene of the accident, as you can examine these later for signs of negligence.
- Bills – Make sure you keep documentation of all hospital and emergency room bills, as they are key in your fight for compensation. Gather receipts from any out-of-pocket expenses that may have resulted from the accident, like crutches or bandages.
Make sure that you present all of your evidence to your school accident lawyer for claims involving minors. You don’t have to have all of it for your first consultation, but photos and video will be helpful to your attorney in building your case.
Playground vs Classroom vs School bus
Defining Your Damages
Determining damages to your child is crucial for getting compensation. These damages can be both physical and emotional. If your child’s injury was bad enough for a doctor’s or emergency room visit, you have a strong case to have your physical damages covered. If the bumps and bruises did not require medical attention, then it’s possible that the court will decide that the physical damages are not enough for a lawsuit.
However, with the increase in mental health advocacy, you may be able to prove emotional damages. Start by keeping a diary of your child’s road to recovery, and detail any nightmares they may have or newfound fears and phobias that may be a result of the incident.
Since your child was under school supervision, it may seem obvious that the school is liable for anything that happens to them. However, like in all personal injury cases, your attorney will need to prove either negligence or malicious intent.
Negligence on the school’s part can be defined as failing to properly maintain playground equipment or to properly follow health protocol. Your child may fall on ice and break their leg due to the school’s negligence in maintaining safe sidewalks. Your child may also get severe food poisoning from the cafeteria or develop breathing problems from poorly maintained vents. These would all be cases where you sue the school for negligence.
Personal injury due to intent would occur through bullying, whether it’s from a student or teacher. If your student was injured in a fight with another student, you can still contact an attorney, but you would pursue a case against the other child’s parents instead of the school. If a teacher physically hurts your student, you would still sue the school.
The school also owes a special duty of care for students under their supervision. This involves giving proper background checks to teachers and administrators that they hire. If the staff member that hurt your student has a prior record of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or pedophilia, you have a very strong case to get compensation for physical and emotional damages. You’d assume that your school district would take accustaions of sexual abuse seriously, but that’s not always the case, as they often fail to report allegations to authorities and allow the abuser to continue in their position.
Your child’s physical and emotional wellbeing are keystones to their stability as an adult, so it’s crucial that your school takes their safety seriously. Unfortunately, not all school districts are concerned with safety. When your child gets injuries at school, you should reach out to a Sherman Oaks personal injury attorney from Okhovat Law to get damages owed to you. Set up a consultation with one of our lawyers to get an idea of what your case against the school district will look like.