School Injury Lawyer in Louisiana
We trust schools to keep our children safe while they learn and interact with their peers all day. However, children are injured while at school nearly every day, whether they’re on the bus, playing at recess, participating in a field trip, or because of bullying from another child or school staff. While dealing with their children’s injuries may be common for many parents, dealing with an injury from school can be much more serious.
School injury claims are distinct from other personal injury claims because of the different rules and legal procedures for school injury cases, especially when those injuries occur at public schools as opposed to private ones.
If your child has been injured at a Louisiana school, you could be reeling, unsure of your next move, and concerned for their health. The personal injury lawyers with Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are here to help you get the compensation your child needs to heal.
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How Common Are School Injuries?
Nearly a quarter of all accidents suffered by children in the U.S. happen at school. Of those, about 1 out of 14 require medical care, and some can even be disabling injuries—including broken bones, neck or back injuries, and others. Every year, over 12,000 of these injuries tragically end in the wrongful death of a child.
Thankfully, the most common types of accidents children experience at school aren’t fatal:
- Fractures can be caused by trips and falls, as well as falls off of playground equipment. Kids are quick and uncoordinated, so care should be taken to minimize slipping risks, and children’s play should always be supervised.
- Sprains or strains can happen during sporting events and recess play. To reduce the risk of strains and sprains, children should rest between periods of physical activity.
- Children are at risk for cuts and scrapes during craft time or science class, or any time they’re scissors, metal, or glass. Lockers can also cause cuts or scrapes, as well as rough brick walls.
- Finally, bruising is common among all children, but if your child regularly comes home with bruises, that could be evidence of bullying or abuse.
Schools’ Responsibilities Toward Children
Since children spend around 8 hours a day in school, there are multiple opportunities for them to be hurt while there. That’s why schools are generally responsible for their students’ safety, and can be held responsible if found negligent in their duty of care toward students.
In Loco Parentis
Teachers and school administrators are charged with keeping their students safe as though they were their parents. This legal doctrine is called in loco parentis, literally “in place of the parents.”
Under in loco parentis, school authorities must provide the same level of care and supervision that responsible parents would in similar circumstances. If they fail to do so, they may be held responsible for their students’ injuries.
Premises liability is the area of personal injury law dealing with injuries sustained on another’s property. Compensation for many of the injuries sustained at school can be pursued through premises liability law. However, to successfully hold the school accountable for your child’s injuries, you’ll need to prove the following conditions:
- The defendant—the school, teachers, administration, etc.—expected your child to be on the property
- You and your child expected to be on the property
- The defendant did not exercise their duty of care to the injured person; in this case, they failed to abide by in loco parentis
- The carelessness or negligence of the defendant directly led to your child’s injury
Negligence can take multiple forms when investigating a school injury. A teacher or school official could fail to note bullying between their students. A janitor could fail to properly clean the hallways, resulting in slips. The school district could improperly vet their school bus drivers, which could expose them to liability should a driver get into an accident.
Whatever the form of negligence, the result is the same: your child hurt and in pain, possibly for the rest of their lives. If your child has been hurt while attending school, they could require expensive medical intervention and months or even years of therapy.
What Should I Do If My Child Was Injured at School?
Immediately after an accident, it can be hard to know what to do if your child is injured at school, so we’ve put together some helpful tips. First, you should be aware of the particular procedures the law requires for bringing a lawsuit. Because schools, especially public schools, are government entities, the rules around bringing a personal injury claim against a school are more complex than for other defendants.
Louisiana’s statute of limitations is one year from the date of injury, one of the shortest in the country. And while private schools are generally bound by this one-year rule, many parishes require claims against a school board to be filed much sooner than that—depending on where your child goes to school, it could be as few as 30 days.
In addition, while it’s always fairly complex to figure out liability in a personal injury case, school injuries can be even more complicated. Children are prone to injury as it is, and there might be many entities that are found liable for your child’s injury. Since children’s brains are not fully-developed, most lawyers argue that they shouldn’t be held to the same standards of liability.
All of these points add up to a case that’s likely to be complicated and possibly drawn-out. You need a passionate, knowledgeable advocate on your family’s side when your child is injured.
Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys is a Louisiana law firm with 679+ years of combined legal experience practicing personal injury law. We’re a family firm, so we know what it’s like to want the very best for your child, and the anguish your family can go through when they’re hurt.
After your child has been hurt at school, call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation as to your legal options. Don’t fight for your child’s rights alone.
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