If your child suffered injuries at a private school in Florida, the legal procedure involved in making a claim is similar to that of a personal injury claim with a private entity or individual. Typically, you would need to submit the claim with the school’s liability insurance carrier.
If you cannot reach a favorable settlement with them, you could consider moving on to a school injury lawsuit. However, if the injury occurred at a Florida public school, you would need to file a claim the same way as filing one for any other government premises or entity, as per Florida Statute § 768.28.
Steps to Take After a School Injury
The first step to take after your child’s injury would be to notify the school district, then the state’s Department of Financial Services within 60 to 90 days. The department will review the claim’s validity and determine compensation.
Afterward, you will have to wait for the school district to accept or reject the claim. If they deny or ignore your claim after 180 days, you can file a school injury lawsuit against them.
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What Proof do I Need When Taking Legal Action Against the School?
A school injury claim or lawsuit works much like a negligence claim. To legitimately hold the school liable for your child’s injury, you will need to prove that:
- The school has a duty of care to their students, including your child.
- The school breached their duty of care.
- Your child suffered injuries through the school’s breach of duty.
- You and your child have damages as a result of the injury.
For example, students in Florida have the right to be separated from other students who previously committed offenses against them, such as assault and battery. It would entail accommodating the victim student’s requests to be moved to a new classroom or team, for instance. If the school does not accommodate their needs, they could be held liable if the victim student is harmed again by the offending student.
Some forms of evidence you could use to prove your school injury claim include:
- Surveillance camera footage
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Medical records of your child’s injury
When Is a School Not Liable for My Child’s Injury?
It would be difficult to hold the school and staff liable for your child’s injuries if they did take reasonable steps to ensure their students’ safety. For instance, a kindergarten teacher and their class assistants may be carefully supervising their students during playtime. The play area may also have sufficient safety measures in place. However, a child might be particularly rowdy and still get hurt as a result.
A school may also not be liable if your child signed a waiver before getting injured. Such instances are common with students in sports teams. However, it would also help to review the waiver more carefully, as there may be loopholes that will not protect the school – particularly with more severe injuries.
Like with other government agencies, public schools typically will not cover damages caused by employees who:
- intentionally injured your child, or
- acted in bad faith
- showed deliberate disregard for their safety
- violated their human rights
You Can Still Take Legal Action
In such cases, you can still directly sue the individual staff member. A lawyer from our firm could help you gather evidence to help prove their liability in court.
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Are There Limits to How Much Compensation I Can Receive?
Florida has specific limits on the amount of compensation available for tort claims. Compensation caps are $200,000 per individual and $300,000 per incident. Only subsequent acts of the state legislature may authorize increased payouts.
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How Much Time do I Have to Take Legal Action for My Child’s School Injury?
The statute of limitations for school injury cases differs depending on whether the school is private or public. If you sue a private school, you typically need to file within four years from the injury’s date, as stated in Florida Statutes § 95.11.
But if you file a claim against a public school, you generally must do so within three years like with other government entities.
Our School Injury Attorneys Can Offer Legal Assistance
Knowing what the legal procedure is after a school injury can help you get compensation. However, the statutes related to injury claims or lawsuits against Florida schools can be complicated. Furthermore, the processes involved in filing them take considerable time and legwork. That is why the team at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers is here to offer their services and ease your workload.
Since 1955, our personal injury lawyers have worked with clients throughout Florida. They are ready to guide you through your case’s legal procedures. We can also be your representatives should you need to face the school or go to court to settle the matter. For free case consultations or other legal concerns, you can call us anytime at (855) 529-0269. We are available 24/7 for you.
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