What Should You Do If Your Child is Hurt At School?

 We all want to keep our kids safe. But then we send them to school where we can't keep them under our watchful eye. But what happens if they get hurt at school? My son, Ike, broke and dislocated his arm at school, but fortunately it was a quick healing and we didn't pursue any legal action. But what if something more serious happens? This post from a reader explores your options.

As a parent, you expect your child’s school to be a safe place. Unfortunately, there are rare instances where your child might be hurt—and it could be more than just a scraped knee on the playground. These are never good circumstances, and it’s easy to understand why any parent would dread a phone call from the school stating that your child has been hurt.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about how school injuries work because your child was recently hurt or are just doing your research to prepare you in the event of an emergency, the following tips will help you better understand the circumstances surrounding accidents at school—and what you can do about it. Here’s what you need to know:

Understanding Loco Parentis

Loco parentis means “in place of the parent,” and it’s a term that accurately describes the role a school should play in your child’s life. When in session, schools must operate in place of the parent to provide the safest atmosphere possible. This means that all educators assume temporary custody during school hours. As such, they are required by law to provide the utmost care to students to prevent any type of injury from occurring. Of course, even when you’ve done your best to find the best school for your kids, accidents happen, but those accidents should never be at the negligence of the school staff.

Assess the Damage & Situation

The very first thing you’ll have to do is assess the damage and ensure your child is okay. It’s important to think about the long-term implications of the injury as well, such as healing times and psychological impacts. If your child did not need to go to the hospital, you may want to take them anyway to ensure they received proper care from the school nurse and to get a second opinion. From here, it’s time to talk to any teachers involved, as well the principals.

Intentional vs. Negligence

Determining who is held liable involves various factors. One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is whether the accident was intentional or caused by a form of negligence. For example, bullying is intentional. Negligence occurs when the school fails to provide adequate care that would have prevented the accident from occurring.

For example, if an educator didn’t have proper training in CPR or didn’t know how to address an epileptic fit, this could be considered a form of negligence. Even in cases where your child was hurt in an accident, the fact remains that many accidents could have been avoided if the school was taking the proper precautionary measures.

Explore Legal Action

Unfortunately, your child’s accident may require you to talk to a lawyer. According to Stein Law, a team of experienced accident lawyers in Tampa FL, if your child is seriously injured you could be entitled to compensation that would cover necessary medical costs and other damages. If you’re on a tight budget, many lawyers will work with you and recoup their costs after the lawsuit has been won.

In some cases, you may not even be sure if your situation warrants a lawsuit. However, talking to a lawyer will help you determine if you stand a fighting chance. As previously mentioned, negligence often presents a strong case. For example, if your child requires medication and your school neglected to give it to them at the designated time, this is a serious issue. Even bullying that’s gone on ignored for far too often demonstrates negligence on the school’s part. Injuries that occur on the bus also fall within the school’s responsibility.

School Defenses

Naturally, the school will do their best to absolve themselves of any responsibility in the event that your child gets hurt. And there are several lines of defense they’ll attempt to take. First and foremost, private schools can be sued directly, while you’ll have to report the accident with the school district if the school is public.

After you’ve officially filed a claim, you typically have anywhere between 60 to 90 days to formally file a lawsuit. Be sure to double check the statute of limitations. If your child was injured while playing a sport they participate in, you may have signed a waiver that acknowledges some associated risk. However, in some cases, those documents are not foolproof and you can still proceed to win a lawsuit against them.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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