Call Now For A Free Consultation
Toll Free: (866) 907-1145 | Local: (919) 833-3370

Can You Sue a School if Your Child Gets Hurt?

Can You Sue a School if Your Child Gets Hurt?: What You Should Know by The Law Offices of John M. McCabe

When it comes to our children, their safety and well-being are of the utmost importance. As parents, we trust schools to provide a secure environment where our kids can learn, grow, and thrive. However, accidents can happen, and when they do, it's essential to understand your rights and options. One of the most pressing questions parents may face is whether they can sue a school if their child gets hurt. Simply put, it depends. Schools have a legal duty to maintain a safe environment and take reasonable precautions to protect students, and despite their best efforts, injuries happen. We'll explore the legal aspects of personal injury claims against schools, and what you can do as a parent to protect your children.

Can You Sue a School if Your Child Gets Hurt

Next Steps if Your Child Was Injured at School

During a time when your child's safety is at risk, it may be difficult to think of what to do next for your child. If you believe the school's negligence is to blame for your child's injury, contact a qualified personal injury attorney.

Seek Medical Treatment

The most important step is to ensure your child's health. Seek medical treatment for your child's injury if necessary. Ensure they receive prompt and proper medical care for their injuries. Keep detailed records of all medical examinations, treatments, and associated costs.

Notify the School

Inform the school authorities about the injury as soon as possible. This will help create an official record of the incident. Make sure to document your conversations and correspondence with school officials.

Collect Evidence

Gather all available evidence related to the incident. This includes photographs of the injury, the location of where the incident occurred, and any objects or conditions that contributed to the incident. Witness statements, security camera footage, and any documentation from the school are also relevant information.

Review School Policies and State Laws

Understand the school's policies and procedures regarding safety and accidents. Familiarize yourself with relevant state laws and regulations that may affect your case.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

Contact a qualified personal injury attorney with experience in cases involving child injuries. They can provide valuable legal insight for your case, help in negotiations with the school, and assist with pursuing a lawsuit if negotiations are unsuccessful.

FREE Consultations

Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.


Filing a Lawsuit Against a School

Filing a lawsuit against a school is a complicated and difficult process, especially if the school is public. There are a few considerations when filing a lawsuit against a school.

Sovereign Immunity

One of the biggest hurdles in filing a lawsuit against a school is the doctrine of sovereign immunity. This legal doctrine grants both federal and state governments immunity from civil lawsuits and liability for damages caused by their negligence. However, most states, including North Carolina, have passed laws that waive sovereign immunity in certain cases, allowing individuals to pursue legal action against government entities such as schools or public universities.

The North Carolina Tort Claims Act

Under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act (NCTCA), sovereign immunity is waived under certain circumstances. If a state employee, such as a public school employee, caused harm while acting within the scope of their employment, they may be held liable.

Private Schools

Sovereign immunity is not an issue if pursuing a lawsuit against a private school. However, you will still need to prove negligence, such as a breach of the school's duty of care.

Proving Negligence

If your child's injury was caused by something such as a maintenance issue that has not been attended to, this is proof of negligence by the school or school district, and may also be enough to take legal action. It's crucial to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you determine liability and gather evidence.

Common Causes of Injuries at School

Accidents happen, it's just a part of growing up. However, sometimes they can be avoided. Listed below are common causes of injuries at school so you and your child can remain vigilant.

  • Playground Accidents: Injuries on the playground may be caused by falling, collisions, or tripping.
  • Sports-Related Injuries: Injuries from school sports or physical education classes, such as sprains, strains, and fractures.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: Students may slip on wet floors, trip over obstacles, or fall on stairs.
  • Bullying and Violence: Physical altercations or bullying incidents can result in injuries.
  • Transportation Accidents: Injuries on school buses or in transportation areas, such as bus stops.
  • Negligent Supervision: Injuries due to a lack of supervision during activities, on the playground, or in common areas.
  • Defective Equipment: Injuries caused by using school equipment or facilities that are in need of repair.
  • Food-Related Issues: Allergic reactions or food poisoning from cafeteria meals.
  • School Trips and Excursions: Injuries that occur during off-site trips or outings.

What if the Injury Occurred Off-Site?

We've explored the circumstances under which you can potentially sue a school if your child gets hurt on school premises or during school activities. But what happens when the injury occurs off-site, away from the school's physical grounds? Does this change the landscape for pursuing a legal claim against the school?

While the setting might be different, schools still hold a duty of care to their students when they're engaged in school-related activities, whether on or off the school property. This duty extends to field trips, extracurricular events, and any situation where the school has organized or authorized the activity.

The critical factor to consider is whether the injury resulted from the school's negligence or failure to provide a reasonably safe environment, even if that environment is off-site. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when dealing with off-site injuries:

  • Negligence and Supervision: The school must ensure that students are adequately supervised during off-site activities. If an injury occurs due to a lack of supervision or proper safety measures, the school's liability may come into question.
  • Transportation Safety: During field trips or events requiring transportation, the school is responsible for the safety of students while in transit. Any accidents or injuries that occur during transportation to or from off-site activities may involve the school's liability.
  • Inherent Risks: Not all injuries that occur off-site will lead to a successful legal claim. If the injury resulted from an inherent risk of the activity and all reasonable safety precautions were taken, the school's liability may be limited.
  • Third Parties: In some cases, a third party or another student's actions may lead to an off-site injury. Determining liability can be complex, as it may involve assessing whether the school could have reasonably foreseen and prevented the incident.
  • Waivers and Consent: Some off-site activities may require parents to sign waivers or consent forms. These documents can impact the school's liability in case of an injury. However, such waivers cannot always shield a school from legal consequences if gross negligence or misconduct is involved.

In essence, while the location of the injury may change, the overarching principle remains the same: the school must ensure the safety and well-being of its students. If negligence on the part of the school or its staff contributed to the injury, you may still have grounds for legal action.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

If your child has been injured at school, whether on or off-site, and you believe that the school might be responsible, it's crucial to understand how a personal injury lawyer can be your advocate in seeking justice and compensation.

Case Assessment

The first step is evaluating your case. A skilled personal injury attorney, such as from The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, will listen to your account, gather evidence, and determine if there is a strong case against the school. They have the experience to discern whether the school's negligence or misconduct played a role in your child's injury.

Legal Expertise

A personal injury lawyer specializes in this area of law, bringing in-depth knowledge of personal injury statutes and case precedents. They'll use this expertise to build a compelling case on your behalf.

Evidence Gathering

To prove your case, evidence is essential. Your attorney will collect and preserve evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, or maintenance records, to support your claims.

Peace of Mind

Legal proceedings can be daunting, but with a personal injury attorney by your side, you gain peace of mind. They handle the legal complexities, allowing you to focus on your child's recovery.

FREE Consultations

Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.



It would be our pleasure to help. We offer free initial consultations for any of your legal needs.
Get In Touch With Us Here
© 2022 The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. | All Rights Reserved

Attorney Advertising | Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram