No parent wants to think about the possibility of their child being injured at school, but, unfortunately, the likelihood of that is often high. With back-to-school season in full effect in Illinois, parents should especially be wary not only of the precautions to take in preventing their child from being injured at school, but questions to ask after an incident occurs.
Here are three big questions to ask when your child is injured at school:
- When did this happen? This is a very important question to ask if you plan on bringing forth a lawsuit on behalf of your child. Every state has their own statute of limitations, in other words, a time limit on when a civil suit can be brought forth. This is to prevent stale cases from going forward and for the sake of fairness to the party being sued. Illinois' statute of limitations is two years. So, if you plan to, make sure that you seek action within two years of the school injury.
- Was this while they were playing sports? Was your child injured while they were engaged in athletics or during a school-sponsored sport activity? If so, school sports injury lawsuits can often be hit or miss. There are a number of outside factors to consider. For one, you may have signed a liability waiver at the beginning of the school year. Also, many sports injury cases can be a dime a dozen. So even though you may think your child's case is novel, a court may dismiss it based on a prior ruling in favor of the school in a similar case.
- Was there negligence? Almost all successful lawsuits that involve a child's injuries at school will require a showing of negligence. Negligence requires the following elements: a duty owed to the victim (by a school or coach, for example), a breach of that duty, proof that the breach caused the victim's injury, and damages. In many cases, courts find that a duty has not been breached; sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes the court will find the child at fault for her own injuries.
These types of questions may appear easy to answer, but they are often far more complicated than just a "yes" or "no." If your child has been injured at school, make sure you contact an experienced, local attorney to help assist you in the process.