If My Child Gets Injured At School, Who Pays?

The last thing most parents think about as their child heads off to school is getting injured. However, injuries at school can and do occur for various reasons — if your child is injured while at school, it is vital to know your rights and what options you have legally to compensate for their injuries. It is equally beneficial to consult a Tampa personal injury attorney for free legal advice.

A group of schoolkids running off of the bus to head to school.

Was your child injured at school? Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, now.

Schools May Be Held Liable If They Behave Negligently

Determining when a school could be held liable for your child’s injuries is based on whether the elements of negligence were present at the time of injury. These elements include the following:

  • Duty of schools: The school, including teachers, counselors, coaches, administrators, and principals, all have a duty of care to ensure the safety of children while they are at school. They must provide a safe environment and do what is reasonably possible to keep them safe.
  • Breach of duty: A breach of duty occurs when the school fails to keep your child safe, resulting in their injuries. For example, they slipped on a wet floor from a leaking roof and fell down a flight of stairs.
  • That breach resulted in damages: The breach of duty must also result in your child experiencing damages. Damages are the injuries and any other related financial impacts that occur, like medical bills, lost wages if they work part-time, and rehabilitation costs.

Schools Must Prevent Foreseeable Dangers

Part of a school’s duty of care is to prevent foreseeable dangers. These dangers are things that could result in injuries if they are not addressed and monitored, such as:

  • Keeping up with building maintenance
  • Replacing broken desks, chairs, tables, and other equipment
  • Maintaining playground and sports equipment
  • Maintaining the school grounds, including sidewalks
  • Preventing students from harming one another
  • Preventing teachers and staff from harming students

Common Injuries in Schools

Students can get injured in all sorts of ways, including:

  • Slips: Students could slip on wet and slick sidewalks, walkways, hallways, and stairs
  • Falls: Students could fall after slipping or tripping over uneven flooring
  • Sports injuries: Students could be injured while participating in PE or sporting events
  • Negligent supervision: If students are not reasonably supervised, they could be injured by another student, teacher, or staff member
  • Accidents involving school property: Faulty equipment, like rusty playground equipment, could injure children

Are Schools Typically Responsible for Sports Injuries?

Schools are not typically responsible for sports injuries because parents and students understand the risks associated with playing sports. Most schools require parents to sign a permission form that explains these risks before their child can participate in sports.

However, schools could be responsible in situations where they were negligent in providing safe playing conditions. For instance, the flooring on the gym floor was uneven, or the football field had holes in it.

Is There a Difference in Liability Between Public and Private Schools?

There are some differences regarding liability between public and private schools when your child is injured. Public schools are government entities, making a claim more complex. They are protected under sovereign immunity, which usually means the school cannot be sued when a child is injured on the premises.

Yet, there are exceptions to sovereign immunity protections. For instance, teachers and other staff are not protected when they are negligent, and the negligence results in injuries. Due to the complexity of public school injury cases, assistance from a qualified personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida, is required.

Private schools, on the other hand, are not afforded the same protections as public schools. Private schools are treated like regular businesses, which means parents can sue the school under premises liability laws. Even though private schools are treated like businesses, the legalities of injury claims can be equally complex. So, it is highly advisable to seek legal counsel to represent your and your child’s interests.

Can Schools Be Held Liable for Injuries That Occur on School Buses?

In certain instances, the school district could be held liable for injuries occurring on school buses. For example, the school may be responsible if the bus driver gets into a traffic accident and is deemed at fault. Additionally, if a child is injured by faulty seats or seat belts, the school may be responsible. Bus drivers could even be liable if they fail to supervise the children to maintain a safe environment on board the bus.

If My Child Was Injured Due to School Violence, Can the School Be Held Accountable?

Schools may be held accountable for injuries sustained from school violence when the violence was foreseeable. This means the school needs to address bullying and fights between students and take reasonable actions to maintain a safe environment. For instance, the school may use metal detectors to prevent weapons from being brought into the school or ensure all doors are securely locked while the school is in session.

Who Pays If My Child Gets Hurt at School?

You may wonder, “If my child gets hurt at school, who pays for injuries and other losses?” In most cases, it is often through some form of insurance coverage, such as:

  • Student accident insurance: This type of coverage may be offered at your school. Sometimes, the school pays for the coverage. Other times, parents can elect to sign up and pay for the insurance. Some schools may even split the premium cost with parents.
  • Health insurance: Your medical insurance could cover injuries your child sustains at school. It can also be used as supplemental insurance when you have student accident insurance.
  • Liability insurance: Schools normally have some form of liability insurance in place. Liability insurance covers medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other damages. However, payments made under liability insurance are usually a single lump sum.
  • Medical payment insurance: Some people may have medical payment coverage under their auto, renter’s, or homeowner’s policy that could help pay for medical expenses when your child is injured at school.
  • Direct payment from the school: Depending on the circumstances and causes of the injuries, the school may cover the costs directly for any medical care and treatment your child requires.
  • The student who caused the injury or their parents: When another student is responsible for your child’s injuries, they and their parents may be liable to pay damages.
  • The teacher or staff member: When a teacher or staff member is found negligent for your child’s injuries, you could seek reimbursement and monetary compensation from them.
  • Third parties: Any contractors or third parties the school hires are another party who could be held liable to pay for your child’s injuries.

Numerous parties could be responsible for paying when your child gets injured at school. In some injury claims, multiple parties could even be accountable, each owing you and your child compensation.

Due to statutes of limitations when filing an injury claim against a public school or private school, it is crucial to ensure you bring legal action against the responsible party or parties. Therefore, getting help from a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, Florida, is in your best interest and that of your child.

If Your Child Has Been Injured at School, Let Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys Fight For You

A gavel on a personal injury attorney's desk.

If your child has been injured in a Florida private or public school, your first responsibility is to ensure they receive prompt medical attention and care, even when injuries seem minor. Your next step is to contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, for a free case evaluation and consultation. We will determine if the school was negligent and responsible for your child’s injuries. Our experienced legal team works diligently to pursue justice, negotiate a settlement, and ensure you and your child receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today.

Sources:

FLA. STAT. § 768.28.

FLA. STAT. § 95.11.

McDuffy, T. (2023). Elements of a Negligence Case.