Can You Sue a School in Texas?
Many concerned parents often believe that if their child is injured in a school setting, the school would be held liable for the injury. However, in Texas, this is not usually possible unless the injury has occurred in a school bus accident. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the rule and the school district may be liable under certain circumstances.
Duty of Care
Schools have a responsibility known as the ‘Duty of Care’ to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who attends. Under this obligation, schools must provide reasonable supervision at all times and take appropriate action should an incident occur. Parents can ask questions such as:
- Was my child properly supervised?
- Was the school aware of any potential hazards?
- Was an accident prevented or responded to in an appropriate manner?
Educational institutions have a legal obligation to provide an environment where students are safe and secure. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure their physical safety, such as providing proper supervision, maintaining safe premises, and implementing appropriate safety measures.
If a school fails to uphold these responsibilities and a student is injured or put in danger as a result, they may be found liable for breaching their duty of care. In order to demonstrate this breach, it must be shown that the school failed to act with due diligence and failed to take necessary precautions that would have prevented the injury or accident. Ultimately, it is the school’s responsibility to protect its students and take all reasonable means to prevent harm from occurring.
Suing Public Schools in Texas
To succeed with a case of this nature, one must demonstrate that the school’s breach of duty is directly responsible for the injuries sustained by their child. You will also need to provide evidence of the damages suffered by your child as a result, such as medical costs, lost wages, or pain and suffering. All of these factors must be addressed for a successful resolution to your case.
When it comes to public school injuries in Texas, individuals may sue a public school for negligence or wrongful acts that cause harm. To help you better understand your rights, here is an overview of common injuries that could lead to a lawsuit against a public school.
Every year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to injuries caused by inadequate playground equipment. From fractures and internal injuries to concussions, dislocations, amputations, and more, these hazards can have a lasting impact on victims – especially young children. Data from the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that girls sustain injuries more often than boys, with those aged 5-9 at higher risk than any other group.
Slip and Fall Accidents
If a student slips and falls in a public school as a result of a wet or slippery surface, such as a slick floor or wet playground, and sustains physical injuries, the school may be liable if it fails to take reasonable steps to maintain and ensure a safe environment.
A school may be held liable for sports-related injuries sustained by its students if it fails to provide proper instructions, training, supervision, or safety equipment.
Bullying and Harassment
If a student is bullied or harassed by another student or staff member and incurs physical or emotional injury, the school can be held legally responsible if it fails to address the behavior adequately.
Schools can also be held liable for any accidents involving transportation vehicles such as school buses, if they are caused by the driver’s negligence or failure to provide proper training or safe vehicles.
If a student is injured while under the care and supervision of a school employee and the injury was caused by their negligence or failure to provide necessary care, schools can also be held liable.
It is important to note that each case is unique and will need to be evaluated individually to determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate. Therefore, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of this type of case.
Immunity from Liability
Qualified immunity is a concept in the law that shields professionals from liability for actions taken within the scope of their duties. In Texas, professional school employees are granted a wide degree of immunity for acts done in good faith that involve discretion and judgment related to their roles. However, there are some actions for which immunity will not apply, including:
- negligence resulting in bodily injury
- negligence in administering medication
- the use or operation of a motor vehicle.
Under federal laws, public employees generally have qualified immunity for federal claims like civil rights violations, such as discrimination and sexual harassment. Professional employees who use excessive force against students can also be held liable for such actions. It is important to note that this protection does not extend to any action that could be considered negligent or potentially harmful to students.
In Texas, it can be difficult to hold public schools accountable when injuries occur. This is due to a legal principle known as sovereign immunity, which largely prevents school districts from being successfully sued in most cases. This means that these entities cannot typically be held liable for claims of personal injury or other damages. Though sovereign immunity provides an important layer of protection, there are some exceptions for citizens to take advantage of.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that protects the government and its agencies from certain types of lawsuits, including those related to personal injury. In the state of Texas, this means that victims of accidents or negligence on school property cannot bring claims against the school district unless the injury occurred “out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle”. Even then, court rulings tend to favor school districts in interpreting this phrase.
Consequences of Sovereign Immunity
This form of legal protection makes it difficult for victims to receive financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and more. It also could potentially increase instances of misconduct involving students, particularly special needs children who may not be able to speak out about their experiences.
In the state of Texas, the Texas Tort Claims Act grants rights to individuals to sue under specific circumstances. This act enables citizens to fight back against any injustice they have faced and seek appropriate compensation through the legal system. A successful suit would require the help of experienced personal injury attorneys familiar with navigating around such limitations.
Texas Tort Claim Act
Under the Texas Tort Claim Act, individuals may seek compensation from government entities such as school districts in cases of personal injury or wrongful death stemming from the operation of a motor vehicle by an employee of the district.
- Liability is limited to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.
- A claimant must provide notice of their intent to sue within six months of the injury being sustained.
- If alternative legal remedies are available for a claim, claimants may elect to pursue only one remedy instead of both inconsistent remedies.
Exceptions Under The Texas Tort Claim Act
The four main exceptions under the Texas Tort Claim Act are:
- Section 101.021 – A government unit (the school district) may be held liable for personal injuries or wrongful death if they occurred by an employee of the school operating a motor vehicle.
- Section 101.023 – Government units are limited to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.
- Section 101.101 – provides special notice provisions, stipulating that schools must receive notice of a claim within six months of the injury being sustained.
- Section 101.106 – sets out the election of remedies provisions so that practitioners can waive a portion of a claim if only one remedy is pursued instead of two coexisting inconsistent remedies.
Can You Sue a Texas Private School or Daycare for Injuries?
The answer is yes. Daycare, preschools, and private schools share the same duty of care as public schools to keep their students safe from harm, and if this duty has been breached or neglected, they may be held accountable for any resulting damages.
To pursue a lawsuit against a preschool, daycare, or private school in Texas, you will need to prove that negligence on the part of the school directly caused your injury, and in particular, show that the school failed to adhere to the applicable safety laws and regulations that apply to them. Texas has specific statutes that apply to private schools and daycares, setting out the rules for teacher certification, curriculum, and safety standards. Additionally, many private schools also operate under policies and procedures that are designed to ensure student safety and well-being. If these policies were not followed properly or adequately addressed by the school administration, this could form evidence of their negligence.
Texas School Negligence Lawyer
If you are considering taking legal action against a public school in Texas, it is essential that you be well-informed about the process involved. You must determine the legal basis for your claim, provide evidence that the school was negligent, and provide written notice of your intent to sue. After filing a claim with the school district, you may be able to file a lawsuit in court if your claim is denied or ignored. During the proceedings, you may need to attend mediation or a trial to resolve the dispute. To ensure the best chance of success, it is best to seek guidance from an experienced attorney who can help you understand the requirements and represent you in court.
It’s important for schools to maintain their facilities in order to reduce the number of hazardous incidents. When negligence causes an injury, however, those affected may be eligible for compensation. If your child was injured in a school or playground setting, contact Genthe Law Firm at 214-957-0898 to discuss your legal options. With experienced attorneys familiar with the applicable laws, they will make sure your rights are protected and your child receives the financial support they deserve.
- Can You Sue a School in Texas?
- Duty of Care
- Suing Public Schools in Texas
- Immunity from Liability
- Sovereign Immunity
- Texas Tort Claim Act
- Can You Sue a Texas Private School or Daycare for Injuries?
- Texas School Negligence Lawyer