School injuries can happen to any student at any time, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries requiring medical attention. Unfortunately, school injuries are common in Texas, with many students suffering yearly harm due to accidents, negligence, or other factors.
These injuries can have a significant impact on a child’s physical and emotional well-being, as well as on their academic performance and overall quality of life. Because of the seriousness of these incidents, it is important to understand the legal rights and options available to parents and students in Texas who have been injured at school.
At The Burkett Law Firm, our school injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and work to help you recover compensation (if that is an option). Here, you can learn more about your rights when a school injury occurs.
Understanding Sovereign Immunity Laws in Texas
Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that traditionally held that the government and its agencies, including public schools, were immune from lawsuits and liability. In Texas, however, state law has limited sovereign immunity, allowing certain claims to be brought against the government and its agencies, including public schools.
Under Texas law, individuals may sue the government and its agencies, including public schools, in certain circumstances, but specific rules and limitations must be followed. For example, under the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA), a person may bring a claim against a government agency, including a public school, for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death caused by the agency’s negligence or wrongful act. However, the TTCA also imposes certain procedural requirements and limitations, including a cap on the damages that can be recovered.
It is important to note that there are exceptions to the waiver of sovereign immunity under the TTCA. For example, the government may still be immune from liability for intentional acts or gross negligence, and certain claims may be subject to a shorter statute of limitations.
Additionally, certain types of government entities may not be covered by the TTCA.
If you believe that you or your child has been injured due to a public school’s negligence or wrongful act, you should consult with our school injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.
What Injuries Can You Sue a Public School for in Texas?
Under Texas law, individuals may sue a public school for injuries caused by the school’s negligence or wrongful act. Some examples of injuries that may give rise to a lawsuit against a public school in Texas include:
- Slip and fall accidents: If a student slips and falls on a wet or slippery surface, such as a slick floor or wet playground, and suffers injuries, the school may be held liable if it fails to take reasonable steps to maintain a safe environment.
- Sports injuries: If a student is injured while participating in a school-sponsored sport or physical education activity, the school may be held liable if it fails to provide adequate supervision, training, or safety equipment.
- Bullying and harassment: If a student is bullied or harassed by another student or staff member and suffers physical or emotional injuries as a result, the school may be held liable if it fails to take appropriate action to prevent or address the behavior.
- Transportation accidents: If a student is injured in a school bus or other transportation vehicle, the school may be held liable if the driver’s negligence caused the accident, failed to maintain safe vehicles, or provided appropriate training for drivers.
- Negligent supervision: If a student is injured while under the care and supervision of a school employee, such as during recess or lunchtime, and the injury was caused by the employee’s negligence or failure to provide proper care, the school may be held liable.
The specific circumstances of each case will determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate and what damages may be sought.
How Do You Prove Liability if Your Child Is Injured at School
If your child is injured at school in Texas, you may be able to hold the school liable for the harm suffered. To prove liability, you will generally need to show the following elements:
- Duty of care: You will need to establish that the school has a duty to take reasonable steps to keep your child safe while at school. This may include providing a safe environment, proper supervision, and appropriate safety measures.
- Breach of duty: You will need to demonstrate that the school breached its duty of care by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the injury from occurring. This may involve showing that the school was negligent in some way, such as by failing to maintain a safe environment, supervise students properly, or take appropriate action to prevent an accident or injury.
- Causation: You must prove that the school’s breach of duty directly caused your child’s injuries. This may involve demonstrating a clear link between the school’s actions or omissions and the harm suffered by your child.
- Damages: You will need to show that your child suffered damages as a result of the injury, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost wages.
To prove liability, you must gather evidence supporting each of these elements. This may include witness statements, medical records, photographs or videos of the scene, and expert testimony.
What to Know if You Intend to Sue a Public School in Texas
If you are considering suing a public school in Texas, it is important to understand the legal process and requirements involved.
Determine the Legal Basis for Your Claim
Before filing a lawsuit, you must determine the legal basis for your claim against the public school. This may involve demonstrating that the school was negligent in some way, such as failing to provide a safe environment or supervise students properly.
Notify the School of Your Intent to Sue
Before you can file a lawsuit against a public school in Texas, you must provide the school district with written notice of your intent to sue. This notice must include specific information about the claim, such as the date and location of the incident and a general description of the damages claimed.
File a Claim with the School District
After providing notice of your intent to sue, you may be required to file a claim with the school district. This claim must provide specific information about the incident, including the date and location of the incident, a description of the damages claimed, and any supporting documentation.
File a Lawsuit
If the school district denies your claim or fails to respond within a certain timeframe, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the public school. You will need to follow the appropriate legal procedures and deadlines, which may vary depending on the specifics of your case.
Attend Mediation or Trial
If a lawsuit is filed, you may be required to attend mediation or a trial to resolve the dispute. The outcome of the case will depend on various factors, including the evidence presented, the legal arguments made, and the decisions of the judge or jury.
Suing a public school in Texas can be a complex and time-consuming process. Working with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the legal requirements and represent your interests in court is important.
Can You Sue a Private School in Texas for Injuries?
The short answer is yes. Private schools, like public schools, have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their students, and they can be held liable for injuries that result from their negligence or failure to fulfill this duty.
The legal process for suing a private school is generally similar to that for suing a public school, with some differences in the specific applicable laws and regulations. To sue a private school in Texas, you will generally need to establish that the school was negligent in some way and that this negligence directly caused your child’s injuries.
Private schools in Texas may be governed by various laws and regulations, depending on the type of school and its accreditation status. For example, some private schools may be subject to state regulations regarding teacher certification, curriculum, and safety standards. Private schools may also have policies and procedures that govern student safety and conduct.
Our School Injury Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Rights
If your child was injured at school, contact our school injury lawyer at The Burkett Law Firm. We have decades of experience representing accident victims and can help you recover the full compensation you are entitled to.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.