My Child Was Injured at School. What Should I Do?
Injuries at school can be accidental or deliberate. When it’s your child that’s hurt, your emotions may span from fear to anger. The very first thing you need to do is tend to your child. Depending on the injury, your child may need your full attention for days or weeks. You’ll need to be there for emotional support or to make sure the child has what is needed.
What are some of the most common injuries at school? If your child is injured playing sports, concussions, bone fractures, sprains, strains, bruises, and cuts are possible. Playground injuries are similar with head injuries, sprains, cuts, and bruises all being typical. Inside a school, a child may slip and fall, trip, or become the target of a bully. Outside, there are icy sidewalks and stairs and bus injuries possible.
If you get a call that your child has been injured at school, these are the steps to take.
Seek Medical Attention if Required
If your child has a physical injury, seek medical attention. Go to urgent care, your child’s pediatrician, or the emergency room. Don’t delay care. It’s better to find out the injury is minor than to ignore it and discover it would have been easier to treat the injury had your child been treated earlier.
Keep track of everything the doctors say. Save medical bills, paperwork relating to at-home care instructions, the diagnosis, and how long you and/or your child will need to miss work and school. If your child needs you home for a week, you’re going to miss a week of work, and that can be a financial strain.
Talk to the School Administration
Start by talking to the school administration. See what they have to say. Insist on filing an accident report if one hasn’t already been completed. Be prepared to show paperwork from the doctor. If the injury was related to bullying, ask what the punishment for the other student is. If it seems they’re ignoring the situation, demand to know why they’re not taking it seriously.
Pay Attention to the Rules
Public schools are government agencies. The rules you follow are based on claims against a government agency. If you decide to file a claim against a public school, there is a “Notice of Claim” requirement.
In California, you have to file this paperwork within six months of your child’s injury. The district where the injury occurred has to approve or reject the claim within 45 days. If your claim is rejected, you can then file a lawsuit within six months. If you never get a rejection letter that can increase to two years.
That’s a public school. The rules for private schools differ. Private schools may be run by a church, an individual, or a non-profit group. If this is your child’s situation, special rules usually do not apply when it comes to filing a complaint.
Sometimes, statutes of limitations toil. This often happens when the defendant is a minor. The case would be delayed until the minor reaches the age of 18. You’re already stressed due to your child’s injury. This process can seem confusing. This is why it’s recommended that you talk to a California personal injury attorney for assistance in understanding the laws and exceptions to those laws.
When Should You Talk to a Lawyer?
It’s often hard to know exactly who is at fault for an injury at school. This is why it can be in your child’s best interest to ask an expert in personal injury claims from accidents occurring at school.
If your child isn’t following school rules and is injured in the process, your child’s negligence may remove any obligation from the school. If you signed a waiver releasing the school from blame if your child is injured during a sports practice, you may also find it hard to file a claim for your child’s injuries. It depends on the cause of the sports-related injury. If your child fell and has a swollen ankle but the coach won’t pull your child from the game, the coach could be negligent for forcing your child to keep playing with an injury.
If the school is negligent by not having proper supervision, not keeping the grounds free of hazards, not running thorough background checks of a new staff member, or isn’t handling a bullying situation quickly, the school could be liable. If that’s the case, you should talk to an attorney to discuss your child’s options.
Carpenter & Zuckerman may be able to help your child get a fair verdict or settlement following a school injury resulting from negligence. They helped one student get $10.5 million from a school district that didn’t stop an attack from happening against that child in time. Consultations are available 24/7 and are free, so you risk nothing by talking to an attorney about your child’s injury at school. Call 888-CZR-FIRST to talk to an attorney at Carpenter & Zuckerman.
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