You can sue your school for personal injury if the school did something to cause the injury. This means that someone who worked for the school, a teacher, a janitor, or someone working in their official capacity caused your harm. Another way that the school can cause harm is if its facilities were dangerous, such as a loose railing, a ceiling tile collapse, or some other type of defect. The defect must cause injury. These two theories are called agent liability (agent of the school caused harm) and premise liability (the premise was dangerous). There are more circumstances in which to sue the school for personal injury, but these are the main two.
In order to be able to sue your school, there are a few steps you must take.
- Determine if the school is private or public.
- If it is a public entity, determine what government entity the school is a part of (city, county, state)
- File a government claim.
- File the lawsuit before the statute of limitations. This is a time limit you have to file the lawsuit in a certain period of time.
Private or Public
The school will be owned or operated by a private institution or a government of either local, county or state. If it is privately owned, the school will have its own insurance, and the process will be similar to suing a private organization or corporation.
What type of government runs the school?
If the school is operated by the local city, county or state, then the school is considered a public school, and a government entity. If the school is public, then there are some additional rules that apply. You will have to file a claim with the proper government entity. This means that knowing what government runs the school will be crucial. A law firm can figure this out for you, but it is important for you to know what government entity is responsible for the harm, because that is who you will file the lawsuit against.
File a government claim
Within 6 months from the date of the injury, you will need to file a “Government Claim Form” with the government responsible for running the school. This government claim form is different for the state, county and city. If the government claim form is not filed first, you cannot file a lawsuit in the proper way. This means that as soon as you realize that a school may be responsible for your personal injury, you should start the process of filing a government claim form. Six months is not a long time.
Statute of Limitations for a public school
If the school is a government entity, there may be specific timelines that apply to your ability to file a lawsuit against your school. If you do not file the government claim form properly, there is a chance that you will not be able to file a case against your school. This is known by lawyers at the statute of limitations.