What to Know About Injuries in School
Injuries that occur at school can be troublesome for all parents and students, not just the parents of an injured child. Public school systems consider student and teacher safety as the primary security concern at school, but accidents do happen. With constant interaction between students, teachers, and school officials, issues often arise from personal differences on school grounds. These potential situations are the basis for strict behavior guidelines for everyone involved with school during the hours of scheduled operation. However, determining if the school can be held liable for injuries is a legal question that depends on the actual material case facts. The Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act If you are the parent of a child in school in the state of Tennessee, The Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act does authorize legal action against a public school in certain situations. There are, however, limits in both damage awards and claims that can be made. Just as in any other civil tort case, a valid injury must actually have occurred, and the plaintiff legal counsel must demonstrate proof of the injury to the court. In addition, the injury must have occurred on school property, even if it is a leased facility, and the injury scenario must be school-sponsored. The final prong in determining if the school is ultimately liable is proving negligence. The respondent school must fail to provide a reasonable duty of care to the safety and well being of the injured plaintiff, which leaves considerable legal latitude of opinion regarding case facts using the civil law “preponderance of the evidence” proof burden. Liability Limits There are also limits to this premise liability status for problems such as athletic injuries, as students often demonstrate a personal reasonable assumption of risk to injury by participating in sporting events. Merely being on school property is not always sufficient, and many times this is documented in the signup process for extracurricular activities at school. However, the laws regarding premise liability involving the structure itself are still present, especially if the school officials knew of structural or physical dangers before an accident occurs. Legally termed as foreseeability, the potential for injury can be a crucial legal element of any lawsuit against a public school. The concepts of reasonable duty of care are always central to any claim of negligence against a civil respondent, and school systems are no different. In many ways, the safety of students and teachers is a primary concern any time a school is holding an event, even when it is public. Injury claims against schools can be complicated legal issues that need the expertise of an experienced and effective civil litigation personal injury attorney. If you have a child who has been injured at school, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer for more information today.