My Child Died In A School Accident? What Are My Legal Options?
When we send our children to school, we rightfully expect they’ll be exposed to a safe and secure environment that facilitates positive development and growth. That’s because schools are responsible for safeguarding children and teenagers in their care. The Latin term that refers to the legal responsibility of a school to take on some functions of the parent is in loco parentis.
Wrongful death attorneys from Phoenix to New York know that schools are required to provide a secure environment and appropriate adult supervision at all times. Chances are the last thing you suspect is that your son or daughter will be involved in an accident at school. Chances are, too, the thought that your child would be killed at school is something that never crossed your mind.
Unfortunately, fatal accidents sometimes happen at public and private elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. In many of these accidents, the student victim has done nothing wrong.
An elementary school student could ingest toxic substances or choke on a toy after a teacher fails to properly monitor students on a playground. A high school student may be involved in a bus crash due to a distracted or fatigued bus driver. A college-aged student may be assaulted due to negligent on-campus security or defective locks allow an intruder to enter their dorm room.
School accidents can happen to students anywhere, any time. The three primary ways in which injuries can happen at school include the following:
- School staff or maintenance crew negligence creates unsafe property conditions.
- Negligent supervision by teachers, bus drivers and other staff leads to an assault or a failure to notice a serious medical problem.
- A defective product causes a fatal injury to a child or teenager.
What are my rights if my son or daughter dies at school?
It can be overwhelming dealing with the loss of a loved one, period. But accidents that happen at school can be especially confusing and frightening. You were not been there to witness the accident. And you might find school officials unwilling to cooperate. They might say they could have done nothing to prevent the accident. Attorneys for their insurance companies might even argue your son or daughter made a mistake that led to their death. Their arguments are designed to minimize liability of the school or negligent party.
If you’ve lost your son or daughter in an accident, it’s possible that the school and school district can be held liable on a number of legal grounds for your loss. School systems have a legal duty to keep students out of harm’s way. Remember, in loco parentis.