School is supposed to be a safe environment for children to grow and learn, but every so often we get calls from parents who are wondering if they can move forward with a personal injury lawsuit because their child was injured on school grounds. As you might imagine, it’s not always easy to collect compensation for school-related injuries because there may be different versions of what transpired, and the existence of an injury does not mean you automatically qualify for compensation. For example, if your child rolls their ankle during gym class, you’re not going to have much luck pursuing a personal injury claim. However, if certain factors or negligence exist, you may have a right to compensation.
With that in mind, we want to use today’s blog to talk about school-related injuries and how you can collect compensation if your child requires medical attention as a result of an injury at school.
Steps To Take If Your Child Is Injured At School
If your child is injured at school, there are a number of steps you’ll want to take if you believe you may consider a personal injury lawsuit down the road. Here’s a quick look at the steps you’ll want to take:
Get Your Child Medical Attention – Have your child evaluated by a professional to have their injuries treated and documented by a doctor.
Write Down What Happened – Have your child write down what happened that led to their injuries.
Witness Contact Information – If any of their friends or classmates witnessed the incident, have your child write down their names so that they can be contacted later.
Video Evidence – If the incident was caught on camera, you or your attorney can contact the school to ensure the evidence is saved.
Contact An Attorney – Contact a personal injury lawyer and explain the situation. After going over the basics of your case, they’ll explain whether or not they think you have a valid claim and how to best proceed.
Do I Have A Valid Claim?
As we touched on in the introduction, an injury on school grounds does not mean that you automatically have grounds for a claim. Minnesota law makes it very hard for you to hold a school, teacher or school official responsible for an injury your child suffers. If your child hurts their ankle in gym class, falls on the playground or slips in the cafeteria, you likely will find it tough to pursue an injury claim unless one of two key factors are present: Negligence and Intent.
For example, if the school was negligent in protecting your child, you may have a right to a claim. If your child slips on milk in the cafeteria that was recently spilled, they hurt their knee in gym class or they trip over a chair and break their wrist, odds are you’re not going to be able to hold the school or an individual for those injuries unless you can prove negligence or intent.
Negligence means that the school was responsible to provide a safe environment for the children, and due to their actions or inaction, they failed to uphold this duty. If staff knew of the spilled milk and didn’t try to clean it up for hours, they could be held liable because they knew of a health hazard and failed to act in a timely manner.
Similarly, if you can prove intent, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the individual or the parents of the individual who caused your injuries. If someone intentionally pushed your child down a staircase or kicked out their legs while they were carrying a lunch tray, you may have a lawsuit. But if your child trips while holding that same lunch tray because they didn’t see a student’s backpack next to their chair, odds are you’re not going to have much success proving negligence or intent.
Not every situation can be perfectly explained, so if you are even remotely considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit as a result of your child’s school injuries, your best bet is to contact a personal injury lawyer like Dean Margolis. He’ll sit down with you and your child, go over the details of the incident and explain whether or not the law is on your side.
Personal injury lawyers only get paid when you win your case, so if a lawyer doesn’t think you have a case, they aren’t going to sell you on their services just for a payday, because that’s not how the system works. Conversely, if they think you have grounds for a lawsuit, they’ll do everything in their power to get you the biggest award possible, because they get a bigger payday when you get a larger reward. There’s no harm in taking a free consultation and learning more about your legal options, because we’ll be completely honest as to whether or not we think you have a chance to win an award.
If you have questions about a recent injury or whether or not you have a valid lawsuit on your hands, reach out to the team at Margolis Law Office today at (952) 230-2700.
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