Throughout the school year, millions of Californians trust state school districts with the safety and wellbeing of their children. Teachers, staff members, and other school employees are responsible for students while they attend school and many school-sponsored activities, such as field trips.
Unfortunately, students suffer serious injuries or even death due to the negligence of California school districts every year. If your child has been seriously injured in a school-related incident in Marin County, you may be entitled to compensation.
What is Negligence?
In a negligence claim, the victim must prove that:
- The at-fault party owed a duty to the victim;
- The duty was breached because the at-fault party was negligent; and
- Due to this negligence, the victim was injured.
Each of these elements must be proven for a victim to prevail in a negligence claim. If the victim cannot support one of these elements, the claim will fail. If the claim fails, the victim is solely responsible for any damages he or she has incurred, such as medical expenses.
The Claims Process Against School Districts
Negligence claims against school districts proceed a bit differently than they do against private citizens or entities. Negligence claims against government entities must be filed under California’s Tort Claims Act.
Different rules and deadlines apply to claims filed under the California Tort Claims Act.
A negligence claim may be filed against a government entity so long as a government employee was acting within his or her scope of employment at the time of the incident. Therefore, a school district may be held liable for the negligence of its employees, so long as it is shown that the employee was performing work duties at the time of the student’s injury.
To initiate a claim against a California school district, a “Notice of Claim” must be completed. The Notice of Claim must include:
- The claimant’s name
- The claimant’s address
- The location of the incident
- The date of the incident
- The circumstances surrounding the incident
- A list of injuries and damages sought
- The name (if known to the victim) of the government employee involved in the incident
- The amount of money sought in the claim
In general, this claim must be filed with the school district within six months of the date of the incident. This is a much shorter deadline than that of a negligence claim against a private individual or entity, which is usually at least two years.
It is important to file a claim as soon as possible after an incident has occurred to ensure your child’s legal rights are protected. Experienced California school district negligence attorneys are prepared to help with this complex process.
Examples of School District Negligence
There are a number of ways in which a school district may face liability for negligence.
Many sports-related injuries occur due to the negligence of school employees. Contact sports, such as football, are dangerous—and if proper precautions are not taken, students may be seriously and permanently injured.
If school buildings are unsafe, injuries may occur. School districts have a duty to ensure that their buildings are safe and free from hazards. Mold infestations and uneven walkways are examples of hazards that schools must remedy.
Bullying is common in schools throughout the country. Schools have a responsibility to keep students safe from physical attacks and threats. If a student is a victim of bullying, and the school has done little to stop the bullying, it may be possible to hold the school district responsible for the injuries the student has suffered.
Damages in a School District Negligence Claim
If a victim prevails in a negligence claim against a school district, the following types of damages may be awarded:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of future medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
Other types of damages may also be recoverable. Your California personal injury attorney will help you determine which types of damages should be pursued in your case.
At Kuvara Law, We Are Experienced in School District Negligence Claims
The personal injury attorneys at Kuvara Law Firm have represented many clients in claims against various school districts in California.