New York City School Accident Lawyer
NYC School Injury Attorney Helping Injured New Yorkers in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island
Parents put a great deal of trust in school administrators, teachers, and staff to provide a safe, nurturing and accident-free environment for their children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, each year, an estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and under sustain school-related injuries. If your child was injured at school or under the care of school officials, protect your rights by calling Brian J. O’Connor, an experienced New York City school injury attorney for a free case review. There is no obligation. Call The O’Connor Law Firm today at 212-566-4868 or 718-948-3500 or fill out our online contact form to understand your legal options.
Schools’ Duty of Care To Our Children
In New York, schools have a duty of care towards students because they act in loco parentis while students are in their custody. This means they take the place of parents while having physical custody of their children and therefore, must act with the same care as a parent of ordinary prudence would observe in similar circumstances. While it is true that schools cannot reasonably be expected to continuously supervise and control all movement and activities of the students in their custody, schools will be found liable for foreseeable injuries that are caused by the absence of adequate supervision.
Types of School Negligence Claims
Schools, teachers, administrators, coaches and other staff may be found negligent in a variety of ways. While not every injury is caused by a breach of a school’s duty of care, we have successfully handled many school injury cases over the years. Types of school negligence claims that we handle include:
- School playground injuries. Playground accidents can be caused by broken and dangerous equipment as well as inadequate supervision of students.
- School bus injuries. While traveling by bus to school is the safety means of travel for children, accidents can happen due to driver inattention, mechanical failure or the other drivers’ conduct.
- Gym/sports/physical education injuries. While any sport or gym class activity comes with some level of risk for injuries, sometimes an injury is caused by inadequate supervision or defective and poorly maintained equipment.
- Teacher negligence. Teachers have a duty to adequately supervise students. Sometimes teachers may also carelessly cause an injury to a student, such as closing a door on a student’s hand.
- Slip and falls – Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of student injuries. Children can slip and fall on snow and ice, water leaks, broken steps in stairwells, slippery floors and more.
- Schoolyard accidents. Not every schoolyard injury is preventable. However, schools and teachers have a duty to supervise students to prevent injuries from horseplay, bullying and other dangerous activity. Students may also suffer injury from poorly maintained property.
- School trip accidents. Schools, administrators and teachers have a duty to adequately supervise students on school trips. The hosting facility also has a duty to provide adequate equipment and a safe premises.
- Bullying. Children can suffer from physical and emotional injuries inflicted by bullies at any age. Schools have a duty to prevent bullying.
- Unsafe property conditions. Schools are required to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, similar to all property owners and agents in other premises accident cases.
- Sexual abuse. Schools have a duty to investigate all potential employees prior to hiring with a continuing duty to train and supervise its staff. Schools also must provide adequate security to the students in their care. Any injuries suffered by students, including sexual assault caused by a staff member, another student or a third-party, is likely the result of negligent hiring, training and supervision or negligent security.
- Lack of supervision. Schools must provide sufficient and appropriate adult supervision to students. A schoolyard with 100 children and one teacher is an injury waiting to happen. Likewise, even with only 10 students in a gym class, a teacher will be found negligent if he ignores the students to speak on his phone, leaving the class unattended, resulting in horseplay.
Filing a School Injury Claim or Lawsuit
Properly filing a school injury claim depends on whether your child was injured in a public or private school.
NYC Public School System
In New York City, public schools are operated by the New York City Department of Education. This is a separate and distinct legal entity from the City of New York. In any action against a public entity, including the Department of Education, there are specific rules and strict time limits that must be followed.
Notice of Claim:
As in other municipal negligence claims, a school injury claim requires that a claimant file a notice of claim within 90 days of the occurrence on the NYC Department of Education. If your child was injured in a NYC public school, you need to contact an experienced school injury attorney as soon as possible or your case could be dismissed. As a former government attorney with the New York City Law Department, Brian J. O’Connor has a unique perspective with extensive experience in handling school injury claims with the NYC Department of Education. Contact us today to protect your family’s legal i nterests.
50 (h) Hearing:
After filing a notice of claim, the NYC Department of Education will typically request a hearing pursuant to General Municipal Law section 50(h) which permits a municipality, school district or other public entity, to question a claimant about the accident and injuries. While the parents will always testify in school cases as to their child’s accident, injuries and other relevant information, sometimes, a child may also be required to answer questions about the accident, depending on the age and development of the child at the time of the hearing.
Statute of Limitations:
The time to file a general negligence claim against a municipality, including school districts, such as The Department of Education, is one year and 90 days after the claim arises. However, assuming a notice of claim is timely filed within 90 days of the accident, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the child reaches the age of 18. Therefore, a child’s school injury claim can be filed as late as one year and 90 days after his or her 18th birthday. It is important to remember that the notice of claim deadline of 90 days must be strictly followed as it is not tolled.
NYC Private Schools
If your child sustained injuries in a New York City private school, there are no pre-suit requirements. In addition, the statute of limitations in a general negligence case against a private school is three years from the date of the accident. However, for any child injuries, the statute of limitations will be tolled (paused) until the child reaches the age of 18. Therefore, the child will have until age 21 to file a lawsuit against a private school for negligence.
Typically, a private school will notify its insurance carrier soon after a child injury at school. A parent or guardian will be contacted soon after an accident to provide a statement about the accident. It is important that you contact an experienced NYC school accident lawyer before you speak to a school administrator or an insurance adjuster. They are not on your side and will only attempt to use your statements against you at a later time. Call Brian J. O’Connor today at 212-566-4868 or 718-948-3500 so that you can better understand your legal options.
Damages Caused by a New York City School Accident
School injuries can cause serious injuries to children and financial hardships for families. It is important to speak with an experienced NYC school accident lawyer to help you and your child get the compensation you deserve. Filing a school accident claim can help you recover several different types of damages depending on the facts of your case, including:
- Past medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Cost of future medical care, if necessary;
- Loss of future earning potential;
- Emotional distress;
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
We often retain liability, medical and other experts to evaluate the facts of an accident and your child’s injuries. Experts also help explain the full effects of the injuries on your child and how your child may be affected in the future in order to get the full value of your case.
Get the Help You Need by Calling a NYC School Accident Lawyer Today
If your child was injured at school you may have questions about whether the school, a teacher, or someone else is responsible. Call The O’Connor Law Firm before you speak with a school administrator or an insurance adjuster. We will provide answers to your questions and the guidance you need to navigate the legal process. We offer free consultations and there is no obligation. Call us today at 212-566-4868 or 718-948-3500 or fill out or contact form online and let us help you.