Child injuries at school occur in a variety of ways. Many childhood injuries at school occur on the bus, during recess, while on a field trip, or because of another child. By the time a child begins school, most parents are accustomed to dealing with minor injuries from falls and other mishaps at home. However, that does not make it any easier to handle the situation when your child sustains an injury at school. What can help is learning about your child’s legal rights from an experienced California personal injury attorney.
Unique Legal Aspects of a School Injury Claim
Knowing your options and how you can help your child seek justice for what happened can help you handle the legal aspect of a child’s injury at school more calmly, efficiently, and effectively.
Shorter Deadlines for Filing Claims
Personal injury claims arising out of injuries at school can be challenging. In addition to the normal difficulties of litigating a childhood injury case, you also have the added complication of dealing with a government entity.
Government entities or government bodies have specials rules and laws that protect them from most lawsuits. For example, most personal injury claims in California must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. However, if a government entity is involved, an administrative claim must be filed within 120 days of the injury. Failing to file the administrative claim could bar the filing of a personal injury lawsuit through the courts if the claim administrative process fails to settle the claim.
Determining fault when a child sustains an injury at school can also be challenging. Children are more impulsive and reckless. They do not fully understand the concepts of risk and consequences. Therefore, a child may place himself or herself in danger without understanding the consequences.
California’s pure comparative negligence laws state that compensation paid to a victim can be reduced if the person had any responsibility for the cause of his or her injury. However, in cases of children, personal injury lawyers argue that the child should not be held to the same negligence standard as an adult as the child does not have the same maturity, understanding, and knowledge of an adult.
Sadly, even though it was a child who was injured, it might not prevent a defense attorney or the insurance provider from arguing that the child is partially to blame for the injury.
Settlement of Claim
The court must approve the settlement of a personal injury case involving a minor. The court approval process is to ensure that the settlement negotiated on behalf of the child is fair and in the child’s best interest. The court also issues specific orders dictating how the minor’s settlement proceeds are to be managed and used until the child reaches 18 years of age.
What Should You Do If Your Child is Injured at School?
After seeking immediate medical care for your child to protect your child’s health and to document the injuries for the record, report the injury to the school immediately. After your child’s condition is stable, contact a California personal injury attorney to discuss your child’s legal options and your next steps.
The three unique aspects of a child injury claim discussed above are just a small insight into the differences and complexities of a personal injury claim involving a child. Parents need experienced legal counsel as soon as possible to help protect their child’s best interest.
A California personal injury attorney handles all aspects of the school injury claim for the parents and the child, thus allowing the parents to focus on the most important thing — their child’s recovery and wellbeing. Contact us today for a free consultation.