If your child was seriously injured at school, it is essential that you work with a keen personal injury attorney to make sure you receive all the compensation you deserve. Cummings Law, a well-respected personal injury law firm located in Nashville, is available to assist. Medical and therapeutic costs add up quickly and you may have to take unpaid time off from work to care for your injured child. Suing a school district successfully is not easy, but Cummings Law is up to the task.
Children, generally more active, energetic, and risk-taking than adults, tend to get injured more frequently, even in the disciplined environment of a school. Fortunately, most of their injuries are minor, requiring little more than a band-aid to make them better. Nonetheless, in Tennessee as elsewhere, serious injuries do occur in the schools. Some are due to lack of sufficient supervision on the part of teachers or other caregivers; others result from premises liability — the failure of the school administration to keep the property safely repaired and maintained.
If your child has been seriously injured at school, and someone else is responsible for the harm he or she has suffered, you may be able to successfully sue the school district to collect damages. Because suing a school district is a difficult and complicated process, you will need strong legal representation to be successful. This is important, not only for reasons of justice, but because your child’s serious injury will likely cause significant financial, physical, and emotional pain to your family.
Common Causes of a School Injury
Most elementary school injuries occur during recess as a result of falls while running or climbing on playground equipment. The most common childhood injuries at school are bone fractures, cuts, bruises, sprains, and concussions, but traumatic brain injuries, burns, or spinal cord injuries may also occur. Injuries for which the school may be legally responsible include the following:
- Slip and fall accidents: on floors that are slippery with uncleaned spills or leaks or that are uncleared of obstructive debris.
- Child-on-child assault: in which we can prove that school authorities were aware of a troublemaker and did not take steps to avoid danger to other children or that your child was not properly supervised at the time the incident occurred. Under a Tennessee law, school districts are liable for physical or emotional injuries that occur as a result of bullying, fights, falls and other causes that arise from negligence on the school’s part.
- Harassment by a staff member: if a teacher or other school employee has sexually harassed your child, you may be able to sue the school district based on a violation of Title IX, a federal law. Also, although corporal punishment is permitted in Tennessee, it must be administered “in a reasonable manner.” If your child has been seriously injured by a teacher, you may have cause to sue.
- School bus accidents: caused by a negligent, impaired, or distracted bus driver, a poorly maintained vehicle or an inattentive staff supervisor.
- Playground accidents: due to defective, rusted or broken playground equipment that has not been repaired or cordoned off from use.
- Food poisoning: due to improper sanitation or contaminated food served in the cafeteria.
- Sports activities: in which equipment or gear is defective, children are not sufficiently supervised, or emergency devices are not readily available.
In all of these situations, it is important to remember that the bar is relatively high when it comes to suing your child’s school district. This is why it’s crucial to have Brian Cummings, our lead attorney, with his fine reputation and outstanding track record of success, fighting for your rights.
The Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act
While it is difficult to successfully sue a public school in our state, The Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act does authorize such legal action under certain circumstances. As in all civil tort cases, a provable injury must have occurred on school property during a school event. Most important, we must be able to prove the school’s negligence according to the “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
Modified Comparative Fault in Tennessee
The courts recognize that personal injuries are often the fault of more than one party. This is known as “comparative fault.” It is possible that the court will determine that both your child and the school are partially responsible for your child’s injury. For example, if your child engaged in extreme risk-taking actions.
In such a case, the court will assign a percentage of blame to the school and a percentage to your child. What this means is that when damages are awarded, your share will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to your child. For example, if the court awards you $100,000 in damages, but your child is determined to be 20 percent at fault, your family will receive $80,000. You should note that a “modified” comparative fault means that if your child is deemed to be 50 percent or more at fault for his or her injury, you will receive no damages at all.
Contact Our Nashville School Injury Attorney
Cummings Law is well-prepared to fight aggressively to win you the damages you and your family deserve. Even though your child’s school administration is likely to have powerful attorneys trying to deny its liability, we have the comprehensive legal knowledge and excellent tactical skills necessary to level the playing field. Once you contact Cummings Law and we determine that you have a viable school injury case, we will work hard to make sure you receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, and any other costs related to your child’s injury. Contact us as soon as possible for compassionate treatment as well as first-rate legal representation.