Can I Sue My Child’s School for an Injury in New York?

When you send your child to school each day, you expect that their safety will be looked after by the school and the school district in New York. However, accidents sometimes happen, and a school should be held accountable for its negligence.

Fortunately, you can sue your child’s school if it fails in its duty to keep your child safe. Every school in New York has a duty to make their campus safe and put in place procedures that ensure student safety. While these can be complex cases, you can recover a wide range of damages for your child’s injuries in a lawsuit.

Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950 for a free case consultation with our Westchester personal injury lawyers.

Can I Sue My Child’s School for an Injury in New York?

If your child was injured while at school in New York, you can likely file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your child’s injuries. Suing a school can be challenging because there are additional hurdles to overcome to file a lawsuit against your child’s school successfully. While these cases can be complex, our New Rochelle personal injury attorneys have the experience you need to get justice for your child. In most cases, lawsuits are filed against schools in New York because they acted negligently in some way but have a slightly different process than typical personal injury cases.

Proving Liability for Your Child’s Injuries

As mentioned, the majority of lawsuits in New York are based on Negligence. To prove your case, you will need to show that your child’s school acted or failed to act in some way, leading to your child’s injuries. This requires proving several distinct elements, including duty, breach, causation, and damages.

The first element, the duty of care, is generally not too difficult to establish in a lawsuit against a school. Schools are responsible for maintaining the safety of their students while on campus and must take measures to ensure that they are. If they fail to make the school safe for children or have procedures that result in harm, they could be in breach of this duty.

If a school breached its duty of care, you must then show that the school’s negligence caused your child’s injuries. This means that your child’s injuries would not have occurred but for the school’s failure to keep them safe. Lastly, you must show that your child suffered actual damages. Hurt feelings and heated emotions are not enough to file a lawsuit. The school’s negligence needs to cause some real damage, which can be financial or emotional damage, like pain and suffering.

Steps to Filing a Lawsuit Against a School in New York

Filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York is already challenging, but filing one against a school requires that more steps be completed before a case proceeds to trial. Before you can file your lawsuit, you will need to file a “Notice of Claim” within 90 days of your child’s injuries. You will also need to submit documentation with your notice detailing your child’s injuries and the basis of your claim against the school.

After submitting your notice, you should receive a request to appear at a 50-H Hearing. This hearing is basically an interview where you can explain your case against your child’s school. You might be required to present documentation, and the school district can request that a doctor of its choosing examine your child.

However, your case will not be decided at the 50-H Hearing. It is merely a preliminary part of the litigation process. Essentially, this process is in place to allow the school and school district to review your case and present a potential settlement. Your child’s school will have one month to present a settlement offer. If they fail to do so, or a settlement agreement cannot be reached, you will then be permitted to file your lawsuit.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for My Child’s School Injuries in New York?

Once you have completed the steps above and can file your lawsuit, you will need to act quickly. In New York, the time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit is generally three years. However, the time limit is much shorter when filing a lawsuit against a school. According to C.P.L.R. § 217-a, you will only have one year and 90 days from the date of your child’s injuries to file a lawsuit.

However, once your lawsuit is filed, there is no time limit for its completion. It is not uncommon for cases against schools to take years before reaching trial. But it is critical that your lawsuit be filed before the deadline passes. Otherwise, you will lose out on your chance of recovering compensation for your child.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Child’s School Injuries in New York?

If your child was injured because of their school’s negligence, you can claim a wide range of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages can be economic and non-economic. The following are some examples of the damages you can claim for your child’s injuries.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are costs related to your treating your child’s injuries. This includes any money spent on medical bills, medications, surgeries, or other related expenses related to treating your child’s injury. Damages for economic loss are typically calculated by adding up all of the expenses you incurred, so it is important to maintain records, including keeping any receipts or invoices you received while your child was being treated.

If your child is old enough to be employed, they can also recover any income they lost due to missing work. Further, out-of-pocket expenses and property damages can also be claimed. For instance, you can recover compensation if your child’s bookbag, laptop, or other property is damaged in the incident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering your child has endured on account of their injuries. These types of damages are often subjective in nature and difficult to determine because they are based on each individual case. Non-economic damages can take many forms, including emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other losses that cannot be adequately compensated through economic damages alone.

Considering that the incident happened at school, your child might feel embarrassed, humiliated, or depressed over their injuries. These emotional damages can also be claimed in your lawsuit.

Our New York Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

For a free case assessment with our Mount Vernon personal injury attorneys, contact The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950.

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