Liability for Child Injury at School
Government entities such as public schools have a very limited scope of liability for tort claims. In fact, it’s exceedingly difficult to hold a school accountable for a child injury at school. But, under certain circumstances, it is possible.
Because these claims often favor the government, not the injured child, and because there are such stringent protocols and tight deadlines with public school injury cases, you’ll want to consult an attorney in your area as soon as possible to review your case and help you take action.
Georgia’s Sovereign Immunity Rules
Georgia’s laws provide that in most circumstances, government entities are immune from civil personal injury lawsuits filed by injured claimants. This doctrine is referred to as sovereign immunity. You cannot sue a public school or other government agency without its consent, which as you can imagine, it is not often willing to provide.
Under Georgia statutes, there are two broad categories of exceptions to government immunity. If your child was injured at school because 1) a school official negligently performed a ministerial duty, or 2) acted with malice or intent to harm during their duties. The state defines religious duty as “commonly one that is pure, absolute, and definite, requiring merely the execution of a particular duty.”
Note, private schools are not afforded the protection of sovereign immunity. If your child suffered an injury at a private school or daycare, general premises liability rules apply, and you are within your legal rights to sue if the school was negligent. Read about some common types of premises liability claims.
Filing a School Injury Claim
If you are eligible to file a claim against the school for an injury your child suffered, be aware that the state requires that you take concrete steps to move forward. Failure to adhere to the steps and to overstep the time limits the state imposes could bar your right to compensation.
For example, you have to give the state proper notice of claim before you take legal action. Also, if you do file a claim against the state, you cannot recover punitive damages and your settlement will be capped at $1 million.
After a child is hurt at school, don’t let government immunity discourage you from looking into your options for pursuing restitution. Your child’s damages might still be compensable. Speak to a school injury lawyer in Georgia about your situation. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation today.