The first day you send your child to school is filled with emotions. Will they like their school? Will their teacher be nice to them? Will their classmates be friendly? But perhaps the biggest worry you may have is are they going to be safe. A child spends a large portion of their day under the care of the school. From the moment you place them on the bus till the moment they come back home teachers, aides, bus drivers, and administrators largely watch them. However, what happens if your child has an accident when they are at school? What happens if there is a bus accident and your child is injured? Of course, you are chiefly concerned for your child’s safety, but after the initial panic subsides you may now be faced with medical bills, and doctors appointments and may begin to wonder if you can hold the school district liable for your child’s injuries.
Call personal injury attorney Brent Wieand at (800) 481-5206 right away to set up a free and completely confidential case evaluation. Your family’s information will be kept private, and you will never be charged any fees unless Brent makes a recovery for you.
Is the School District Liable?
Generally, Pennsylvania public school districts are immune from liability for damages caused to people and property under the Political Subdivision Torts Claim Act Section 8541 of the Judicial Code. However, there are exceptions to the Tort Claims Act that may allow you to sue The Philadelphia School District, or other public school districts in Pennsylvania, if your child has suffered an injury while under its care.
To bring a personal injury lawsuit against a public school district in PA, your child must have been injured due to “acts by a local agency or any of its employees” and establish that “damages would be recoverable under common law or a statute creating a cause of action if the injury were caused by a person not having available a defense,” of governmental immunity or official immunity. Fortunately, this can be an easy hurdle to cross because there are a considerable amount of damages that can be recovered under common law.
In addition, you will need to prove the injury meets one of the exceptions to the Tort Claims Act. This is because the government has only waived its immunity to certain civil actions. Exceptions to governmental immunity include:
- Care, custody, or control of your child’s personal property;
- Care, custody, or control of real property this often refers to the school grounds and property;
- Vehicle liability
- Utility services facilities;
- Streets and sidewalks on school property;
- Care, custody and control of animals.
What Cause of Action Can I Bring?
As discussed above, to bring a claim against a public school district in Pennsylvania you must have a common law basis for filing a lawsuit. Negligence lawsuits are the most common cause of action that a parent can bring if their child is physically injured at school or while under the care of the school district. The most commonly used exceptions are for injuries resulting from vehicle liability and control of real property. These typically include accident claims such as:
- Injuries caused by a defective condition of the school premises, such as a loose floor board in the gymnasium which causes serious injury; or
- School bus accidents and auto accidents involving other school vehicles.
In addition, since public schools are governmental entities, they may also be subject to civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Civil rights violations include actions such as:
- Discrimination against a student on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, and other categories protected by law;
- Excessive Force / Police brutality claims.
Trust a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer With Your Case
If your son or daughter was injured at school, you should strongly consider speaking with an attorney. Whether your child’s accident occurred during class, in the hallways between lessons, or on a school bus, your family may be entitled to compensation to help with your child’s medical care, hospital bills, and other expenses related to the injury. Call Philadelphia personal injury attorney Brent Wieand at (800) 481-5206 right away to set up a free and completely confidential case evaluation. Your family’s information will be kept private, and you will never be charged any fees unless Brent makes a recovery for you.