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Each year, more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room due to a playground-related injury. With 79% of playground injuries involving falls, children may suffer concussions, fractures, major lacerations, and – in some tragic cases – even death. Since children spend most of their day at school, it is important for parents to understand how to file a playground injury lawsuit if an injury does occur, and to know what that process is like.
What to Expect When Filing a Playground Lawsuit
Although it varies by state, typically a minor (anyone under the age of eighteen) has the right to the same damages as a personal injury claim filed by adults. A child may receive compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent injury and disability. Parents may also be compensated for medical bills incurred due to a child’s injuries, and a parent or hired attorney can negotiate on behalf of their child.
In California, all personal injury settlements for children must be approved by the court. The court then appoints a “guardian ad litem” who investigates the situation, and determines the best course of action for the child. If the court approves of the lawsuit, compensation is then placed into a blocked account where the minor can access the funds upon turning eighteen. When filing a playground injury lawsuit, the insurance from the at-fault party may waive the requirement to appoint guardian ad litem. Normally, this will only happen for cases seeking compensation below $5,000.
Can I Sue My Child’s School for an Injury?
For those wondering what to do if a child is injured at school, an attorney can help determine if there was any negligence on the school’s part, and if there is any case for school district liability. A school can be found negligent if it does not provide a safe environment, or if the accepted standards of care for a child are not provided, and a child is injured as a result. An example of this would be if a child suffers an injury due to a lack of adequate supervision by a school employee (or due to defective playground equipment).
When playground injuries occur at a public school, the school district has sovereign immunity under the California Tort Claims Act. Since a school is a government entity, parents will need to follow strict procedures before they can file a claim. Prior to filing a lawsuit, parents must submit a notice of claim to the school district. It is highly recommended that parents speak to a personal injury lawyer during this process, as failure to follow the proper procedures may mean dismissal of a playground injury lawsuit. In writing, the notice of claim must describe the nature of the incident, injuries sustained, and include a call for compensation. California law requires notice of the claim to be filed within six months of injury.
Private schools do not require the same special procedures for claims against the school, so long as the school does not receive federal funding. For a private school, the process would require filing a claim in California’s civil court system. A personal injury attorney can also help determine the best course of action for filing a lawsuit on a privately-owned playground.
File a Playground Injury Lawsuit
If you’re the parent of a child hurt at school, an experienced law firm can simplify the process of navigating playground accident claims, and can increase the chances of a successful playground injuries lawsuit. Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 Billion for our clients in over 25,000 cases. Ready to learn more? Read about our “no win, no fee” policy, view our locations, or contact our team by requesting a free playground lawsuit consultation – we’re here to help!