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A School’s Responsibility for Injuries or Death

By Evan L. Kaine

The school year is officially underway! Parents are breathing a bit easier as morning routines have become more efficient; while the kids are becoming more comfortable at school. It is normal for both parents and children to feel a bit jittery as the new school year begins, but hopefully as time passes, all parties will feel more at ease. However, like any parent there are always concerns and what-ifs that wander through our protective minds.

We want our children to be safe at school.

We want our children to feel nurtured.

We want our children to learn and have fun.

But what if something tragic happens? What if our child gets injured at school?

Unfortunately, there have been hundreds and thousands of personal injury and wrongful death claims that parents have filed against schools. While the subject is extremely disheartening, it is a subject that needs to be understood.

What do you need to know?

  1. The doctrine of Sovereign Immunity (or “Government Immunity”) protects public (but not private) schools from most lawsuits. Sovereign Immunity is a shield that stops most injury claims against school districts and public school teachers/coaches, etc . . . Sovereign Immunity means that you cannot sue the government without its consent. And as you might imagine, the government is not often inclined to give that consent.
  1. In the state of Georgia, There are narrow exceptions to the Georgia rule. For instance, you generally can bring a claim if your child is injured in an automobile accident caused by a County employee. There is a statute, O.C.G.A. § 33-24-51, which allows a waiver of sovereign immunity when a county purchases liability insurance for the negligent use or operation of a government owned motor vehicle. So, if your child has been hurt in that manner, you are protected. But outside of the motor vehicle accident injury context, the law is quite unfavorable to injured children and their families.

Unfortunately, it is extremely unfair that government employees are not responsible for their actions (or lack thereof) when your child(ren) are injured at school. As parents, we entrust teachers, principals and school officials to keep our children safe. Yet, we cannot seek justice because immunity is granted to these officials and the school?

Although these cases are extremely difficult, the fight for liability and justice should never be left untried. At Kaine Law we are here to assist you and your family if any tragic accident or death occurs while your child is at school. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-KAINE-LAW.

Posted in Personal Injury |
Published September 01, 2015


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