Every year, students in Colorado end up in hospitals with injuries that they sustained at school. If you get a call that your child has been hurt at school, you may have the right to recover financial compensation. You could potentially bring a claim against the school or school district. Learn more about your rights as the parent of an injured child in Colorado.
The average school campus in Colorado contains many potential injury risks. However, it is the school’s responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe environment for learning and productivity. Any lapse in this responsibility, such as ignoring property maintenance concerns or failing to prevent bullying, could lead to serious student injuries.
Common examples of harmful school accidents and incidents include:
An accident on school grounds or during a school-related activity, such as a field trip, could result in injuries such as broken bones, strains and sprains, dislocations, burn injuries, head and brain injuries, cuts and bruises, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. If someone was negligent, your family may be entitled to compensation for these injuries.
In general, the party that is guilty of a tort or act of wrongdoing is liable for a child’s school injury. A school, however, can be held vicariously liable for the actions of its teachers and employees. Similarly, a school district can be held vicariously liable for a school. This means that your family may be able to hold the school or school district liable if your child was hurt in a preventable accident on campus.
If your child was injured due to the fault of a school or one of its workers, such as a maintenance crew for failing to maintain a safe premises or a teacher for failing to supervise students on a playground, your claim will most likely be against the school district. School districts in Colorado take responsibility for incidents that occur at public schools. If your child was injured at a private school, on the other hand, you would file a lawsuit against the school itself.
Going up against a school or school district can be difficult without legal representation. For this reason, your first step should be to contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling child injury cases. An attorney can explain your family’s rights and take care of confusing legal processes for you. An attorney can also help you navigate the unique requirements surrounding lawsuits against government entities in Colorado.
Filing a claim against the government requires adherence to strict rules under the state’s Tort Claims Act. This involves a shorter deadline than the typical statute of limitations on injury cases in Colorado. While a personal injury plaintiff usually has two years to file a personal injury claim, your family only has 180 days to file a claim against a public school or school district. However, your deadline may be tolled, or paused, until your child turns 18 in certain circumstances.
You or your lawyer must submit a written claim to the school district to notify it of your intent to sue. Then, you will submit a demand letter, which will include a description of the accident and how much money you are demanding in compensation. From there, your lawyer can negotiate with an insurance company for maximum financial compensation for your child’s injuries. You could be eligible for reimbursement for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, long-term disability, and more.