Who is Liable for a Public School Accident in Pennsylvania?

children coloring in class at school
September 23, 2019
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. This includes children who are at school. There are several different ways this can happen, possibly resulting in significant injuries that are impactful to children’s lives. When facing these situations, parents often want to hold school districts liable for their child’s suffering. While it can be difficult to make a claim against a school in Pennsylvania, it is not impossible. It is important to contact an experienced attorney to help navigate your case.

Types of Accidents

Sometimes, a personal injury accident is purely an accident due to someone’s own wrongdoing. Other times, they may be the result of another party’s negligence. This can be the case if a school fails to reduce the amount of risks that can be present on the ground. The most common types of accidents that occur in school districts can include the following:

  • Playground accidents: Emergency rooms in the United States tend to more than 200,000 playground injuries per year. Some injuries can be as simple as minor cuts and bruises or be as serious as broken bones, brain injuries, amputations, and strangulation.
  • Hazardous premises accidents: When unknown or unrepaired hazards are present in schools, it can cause slips, falls, trips, elevator or escalator accidents, parking lot accidents, fires, and more.
  • Sports accidents: Sports and recreational activities can lead to severe musculoskeletal injuries in children. This can include ligament sprains, muscle strains, growth plate injuries, broken bones, spinal cord fractures, concussions, dehydration, repetitive motion injuries, dehydration, and more.
  • School violence: Actions such as pushing, fights, gang violence, and assault within schools can cause both physical and emotional harm to a person. This can result in cuts, bruises, broken bones, gunshot wounds, head trauma, and more.

Is the School District Liable?

Under the Political Subdivision Torts Claim Act, public school districts within Pennsylvania are generally immune from liability claims against them. However, there are exceptions to this that can allow a person to sue a school district. This may be the case if a child suffers an injury while under the care of the school.

In order to bring a personal injury claim against a public school, a child must have been injured due to “acts by a local agency or any of its employees.” In order to prove this, the injured party is required to show that “damages would be recoverable under common law or a statute creating a cause of action.” Negligence lawsuits are often the cause of action that parents bring against schools. It is also important to know that public schools have a maximum liability for harm that is capped at $500,000.

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one has been in a personal injury accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to help you with your case and to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Contact Spear Greenfield to get the right attorney in your corner.