Filing A Lawsuit for School and Daycare Injuries in Florida
Schools in Florida are obligated to provide a safe environment for students, and yet, the following incidents continue to occur:
- Injuries that occur in areas of a school that are easily accessible but should not be accessed (e.g., areas under construction; areas containing dangerous devices; areas for teachers or maintenance personnel only)
- Injuries from falling down the stairs because of faulty steps or broken handrails
- Injuries on dangerous or damaged playground equipment
- Gym class injuries caused by lack of supervision or dangerous equipment
If your child’s injury occurred because of their school’s or daycare’s negligence, then you can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation, which we further discuss below.
Do Schools Have A Duty of Care?
Schools must protect students against certain harms, including harm from teachers and dangerous circumstances on the property. If the school fails to meet this standard and your child suffers an injury as a result, then you can file a lawsuit against their school.
For example, let’s say your child suffers an injury because they were climbing the stairs when a loose step rolled under their feet. The school might be liable for failing to maintain the steps. Alternatively, you might have grounds to sue if a teacher injures your child by acting aggressively and the school knew of the teacher’s history of violent behavior. You might have a valid claim against the school, as they shouldn’t have retained the teacher after learning of their violent tendencies.
While it can be challenging to bring a lawsuit against a school, Florida law still gives you the right to hold bad institutions accountable for failing to provide the appropriate standard of care. Schools are not immune to having to pay out on school or daycare injury lawsuits.
Bullying and Liability
Students often suffer harm at the hands of another student. Bullying is an age-old problem at schools, but sometimes, it can lead to tragic results. While it might be challenging to hold the school accountable for a student’s random act, if the school failed to supervise or punish students who were known for bullying others, then the school could be liable. In fact, the school and the bully’s parents could be held liable for the harm that was caused.
To bring a lawsuit against a school for bullying, allegations of negligent supervision must be involved. For example, the lawsuit could allege that the school failed to supervise the student who committed a physical or sexual assault against the victim. Proving that the school knew about the bullying or other misconduct is critical in these matters. If your child suffers bullying and injuries, ensure you gather evidence, including photographs and medical records, for your lawsuit.
Keep in mind that the location of the bullying is especially important for purposes of liability. Bullying on school property could hold the school liable. But bullying on the way home from school might be out of the school’s control and thus, release them of liability.
Schools and Sovereign Immunity
While government entities have some sovereign immunity that protects them from lawsuits, it is possible to sue public schools in tort claims. If the school does not properly supervise activities or maintain its premises, the plaintiff can hold the district liable.
Parents reasonably expect daycare providers to create a safe environment for their children. Unfortunately, these facilities may fail to take the necessary steps to prevent injuries.
Unlike schools where children are older and require less supervision, daycares cater to young children who need careful and vigilant attention. Many accidents involving small children are predictable, and daycare workers should be looking out for potential hazards. So, if your child suffers from a fall, accident on the playground, or harmful action by another child or a daycare worker (e.g., hitting, cutting, choking), then you might be able to hold the daycare liable.
Damages in School and Daycare Injury Cases
Schools do not want to hold liability because admitting fault costs them money and damages their reputation. Regardless, your lawyer will attempt to negotiate a settlement to cover your child’s losses but should be willing to take your claim to court and fight for a favorable verdict if the school doesn’t budge. In a successful claim, you can get compensation (damages) from a school or daycare.
Damages available in a school or daycare injury case include:
- Medical Care: If your child sustained injuries, a successful claim would allow you to recover compensation for the cost of medical care, including doctor’s bills, medications, rehabilitation, and surgery. You can recover compensation for costs that you already paid and for anticipated future expenses.
- Parent’s Lost Income: If your child sustained injuries that kept them home from school, required them to attend doctor’s appointments, or otherwise impacted your ability to work, then you could recover your lost earnings.
- Loss of Future Earnings: If your child suffered severe injuries, then the harm could impact their ability to work in the future. The law allows for those who suffer permanent disabilities to collect compensation that they would have otherwise would receive if working. That compensation will help your child afford a better standard of living.
- Pain and Suffering: Not all losses from an injury are financial. Courts may allow a victim to recover damages for their pain and suffering. While these damages may be difficult to calculate, they often add up to significant amounts. So, if your child sustained physical or emotional pain because of a school or daycare injury that will likely continue long-term, then the school or daycare could compensate your child for this.
Other forms of compensation might be available depending on the case. Your attorney should clearly explain potential damages that apply to your situation.
Was Your Child Injured at School or Daycare?
If your child sustained an injury at school or daycare, then you may be able to sue the institution as well as the individuals who caused your child’s harm. Remember, schools and daycares are not in a hurry to admit they are at fault and certain laws protect public institutions from lawsuits.
Luckily, The Watson Firm, LLC is comprised of highly-qualified personal injury attorneys who can help protect your child’s rights and fight for the compensation they deserve. We are here for you.
Contact The Watson Firm, PLLC today by calling (850) 607-2929 or by contacting us online for a free consultation.