School & Daycare Injury Attorney in Seattle, WA
Common School Accidents that Can Support a Legal Claim
Not all school injuries will support a legal claim. You need to show that the school accident resulted from a lack of due care by someone in a position of responsibility at the school. A few examples where someone might bear liability for your child's injuries include:
- Pedestrian accidents at school crossings;
- Accidents during field trips;
- School bus crashes;
- Injuries resulting from negligent acts by a teacher or school staff member;
- Accidents involving extracurricular school activities on or off campus that were supervised or sponsored by schools or school districts.
Parents and students can pursue claims against public and private schools. The rules for suing private schools are the same as for any other person or business. However, suing a public school requires you to follow a complicated set of rules that apply to claims against government entities.
These rules tell you where you can file a lawsuit and how you must provide notice of your child's claim. If you fail to comply with the rules, a judge may dismiss the claim.
Can a School or School District Be Liable for Injuries in Seattle Schools?
You entrust your child to their school for seven hours or more every day. When your child gets injured, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the school or school district for negligence.
In a negligence claim, you must prove:
Washington State imposes a legal duty on schools and districts to exercise reasonable care in:
- Anticipating reasonable dangers your child may face;
- Taking precautions to protect your child from these dangers;
Some ways the school or district might breach this legal duty include:
- Hiring or retaining staff members when a reasonable investigation would reveal they pose a danger;
- Failing to supervise or providing negligent supervision at school;
- Neglecting to follow up on reports of bullying, harassment, or abuse;
- Providing inadequate care after a serious injury occurs.
Once you prove duty and breach, you must prove that the breach caused your child harm. Causation means the action or inaction by the school or district fell in the sequence of events that ended with an injured child.
What Should Schools and School Districts Do to Prevent Injuries?
The school and district are responsible for anticipating dangers and taking reasonable precautions to prevent harm. Some steps they can take to prevent injuries and avoid personal injury claims include:
- Controlling access to the school building when children are present;
- Implementing a policy for investigating reasonable reports of abuse against students and teachers;
- Using security cameras to monitor students and teachers;
- Reviewing policies and procedures for providing care after an injury occurs;
- Monitoring classrooms and extracurricular activities for hazards.
When a school fails to maintain a safe environment, you may have a claim for any resulting injuries.
Scenarios for Holding Schools Responsible for Student Injuries
Unfortunately, a few scenarios happen often enough that the facts surrounding them fall into a predictable pattern. These fact patterns help you identify what happened to your child and explain why the school, school district, or daycare bears liability for the injuries.
Child Abuse in a Daycare Setting
The first signs of child abuse in daycare usually appear as physical, behavioral, or emotional changes in your child. Some examples include:
- Acting out or becoming defiant;
- Withdrawing or acting depressed;
- Refusing to go to daycare;
- Showing signs of sexual abuse;
- Having unexplained physical injuries;
- Appearing nervous and hypersensitive.
These cases often happen because the daycare failed to properly vet its employees before hiring them. Or worse yet, a daycare might improperly retain a worker after receiving complaints about them or observing inappropriate behavior.
Bullying and Harassment at School
A school or school district might be responsible when your child gets bullied or harassed by fellow students. These cases can fall into two common fact patterns.
Your child might experience bullying and harassment due to negligent supervision school practices. The bullies might even target your child where supervision is lax, like in the lunchroom. Alternatively, your child might report bullying to staff members, teachers, or administrators, but the report goes uninvestigated, and the bullying continues.
Common Injuries Sustained in Seattle Schools
Your child's injury can take many forms:
- Fractured bone
- Soft tissue injuries, like a sprain or strain
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Whether your child suffers a physical or psychological injury, you can pursue a claim against the school or district. In both cases, you can seek to recover economic losses and pain and suffering.
Child Injury Claims vs. Adult Injury Claims
Child injury claims are handled differently from adult injury claims. In some situations, specific laws apply. And in other situations, the same laws apply, but judges and juries view them differently when applied to children.
Some ways your child's case differs from an adult case include:
- The statute of limitations does not start running for a minor's claim until they turn 18;
- Your child cannot file a lawsuit, but you can file one on their behalf;
- The standard of reasonable care applied to your child will be much looser due to their lack of maturity and knowledge;
- Both adults and children can include claims for future lost wages, but children have a much longer span for calculating them.
You will need to speak to a lawyer about these differences and how they affect your child's claim. It's generally not in your best interests to wait until your child turns 18 to file a claim. You will need compensation for medical bills and child care. As a result, you will likely file a claim on their behalf soon after their injury.
How Lehmbecker Law Can Help Recover Injury Compensation for Your Child's Injuries
The Seattle child injury attorneys at Lehmbecker Law have over 52 years of combined legal experience helping accident victims. We help all of our clients by:
Contact us to learn how we can help you.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Child's Injuries Seattle, WA
A daycare or school accident can leave your child traumatized and disabled. You might incur significant medical expenses. Worse yet, the injuries might limit your child's ability to earn a living when they get older. And your child might suffer mental and emotional distress in addition to any physical injury. As a result, your child might need therapy or counseling. Contact us to schedule your free consultation to discuss your child's accident and their legal rights to compensation.
Conducting a free consultation to discuss how the injury happened
Providing personalized service tailored to your child's situation
Fighting to resolve your case quickly so your family can move on
Speak with a Day Care & School Injury Attorney: Seattle, WA
Child injuries can cause significant financial losses. Contact Lehmbecker Law to discuss your child's accident and learn how you can pursue a claim to secure their future.