Millions of children across the State of Indiana go to school every day, and parents expect their children to return home each day safe and sound. Unfortunately, children are sometimes injured in accidents while at school.
You may be able to sue the school for injuries your child experienced while in the school’s care. You should speak with an attorney about your situation because governmental immunity laws might block you from filing certain kinds of lawsuits against public schools. There are also additional notice requirements when suing public schools because they are government entities. Proving the school is liable usually means establishing negligence, although intentional acts of abuse may follow a different path. Ordinarily, the statute of limitations on a lawsuit begins counting down immediately, but the clock may be paused in cases involving minor children.
If your child was injured in a school accident or by an abusive staff member, our Indiana personal injury attorneys can help you get justice for your child. For a free case assessment, contact the offices of Wruck Paupore. Call our team at (219) 322-1166.
Various types of lawsuits might be implicated in a school-related accident. Premises liability, negligent hiring, or even cases of abuse are not unheard of. You should speak to an attorney about your case to get an idea of what kind of lawsuit you might be dealing with.
Minor accidents and injuries are bound to happen anywhere there are children, but schools are legally responsible to act reasonably to protect children from serious harm. You can sue the school for damages when serious accidents and injuries happen. However, Indiana Code § 34-13-3-3(a) provides a list of circumstances in which governmental entities (e.g., public schools) may be immune from liability. You should go over your situation with an attorney to determine if your child’s school can be sued or if it has governmental immunity.
Depending on the accident, there are various ways to approach the case. Our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers can help you file the appropriate lawsuit to get damages for your child’s injuries.
Most accidents at school involve some form of negligence. Negligence comprises four important legal elements, and each must be established in court if you are to successfully sue the school for damages. These elements include the school’s legal duty of safety owed to your child, the breach of that duty, the causal connection between the breach and the accident, and your child’s real injuries and damages. Remember, the breach of duty must be the direct cause of the accident, and your child’s damages must be real, not just possibilities or hypothetical.
These four basic elements come up in almost all cases involving unintentional accidents, although they might look different depending on how the accident happened. Our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys can help you prove the school was negligent and make them pay for your child’s damages.
Premises liability is a type of personal injury lawsuit that stems from injuries caused by unsafe property conditions or hazards. The premises in this scenario would be the school building and school grounds. The school is responsible for unsafe conditions that lead to accidents and injuries. Our Indiana premises liability attorneys can help you prove the school was negligent and failed to keep the premises safe for your child.
For example, unsafe conditions might include exposed electrical wiring, wet floors, uneven stairs, broken glass, and other dangerous conditions that might be present at the school. Many of these hazards might appear mundane, but children can be seriously injured without proper warnings.
Schools are sometimes targets of people who wish to cause other people harm. As a result, many schools throughout Indiana have intruder drills to prepare students and staff for the possibility of a dangerous intruder. If a dangerous person manages to enter the school because the school failed to implement adequate security measures, you might be entitled to sue the school for negligent security if your child is hurt.
Schools are also responsible for protecting students from other students. Unfortunately, bullying is a problem among kids that sometimes goes too far, and kids get hurt. If your child was a victim of violent bullying that the school failed to stop because they lacked proper security measures, you can sue the school and hold them liable.
What constitutes adequate security measures will vary based on the school’s location, the kind of dangers or hazards that are reasonably expected, and whether the school knows about any security risks. Examples of security measures include security guards, cameras, alarms, locks, barricades, and security drills.
Your child’s injuries might not come from another student, unsafe conditions, or an intruder. In some cases, a school staff member is to blame for the injuries. The school might be liable for negligent hiring if a school staff member is too dangerous to be around children but was hired anyway.
For example, suppose a teacher injured your child during a violent outburst. Next, suppose the teacher has a long criminal record involving violent crimes that the school knew about before they hired the teacher. In that case, the school may be liable for negligent hiring because they knew the teacher had a track record of violence before being hired. This is especially important in cases where teachers or other staff members have criminal records that bar them from accepting jobs working with children.
Under Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4(1), the ordinary statute of limitations for personal injuries in Indiana is 2 years. This means someone has 2 years from the date their injuries occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit. Children are affected differently because they are minors and cannot file lawsuits of their own accord. Our South Bend personal injury attorneys can help you file your lawsuit as quickly as possible.
Statutes of limitations can be tolled for legal disabilities. A legal disability is a condition that prevents a person from filing a lawsuit on their own behalf. Being a minor is considered a legal disability. Under Indiana Code § 34-11-6-1, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the person’s legal disability is removed (i.e., the child turns 18), and then the lawsuit must be filed within 2 years.
If you want to sue a public school, you must abide by extra notice requirements that come into play when suing government entities. Under Indiana Code § 34-13-3-6(a), you generally must file a notice of your claims with the attorney general or state agency involved in the lawsuit within 270 days of your child’s injuries. However, if your claim is against a political subdivision of the state (usually the case with a public school) your must provide technical notice within 180-days of the incident. If you fail to do so, your claims will be barred. These are complicated and highly technical requirements and it is highly advised that you consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after any incident.
School is supposed to be a safe place for children. Children might be hurt when schools become unsafe because of hazards, accidents, or dangerous individuals. Our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys can help you hold your child’s school accountable for the damage they caused. For a free case evaluation, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.