My daughter came home Friday afternoon, got off the bus crying. She said that a boy pushed her and punched her on the playground. Her face had bruises, swelling and scratches all over the right side of her face. She had scrapes and a "goose egg" on her fore head. I could see that there was dried blood around her nose. I took her in and cleaned her up, called the principal. He said he would "look into it". I then took her to her doctor to check out her head. I was so outraged that she was made to sit in class, denied medical attention by a doctor to her head injury, and cry all day. I, as her mother, was not notified and was not given the option to take my daughter to the doctor. My daughter is 5 and in Kindergarten, what can I do? Isn't this negligence?
We do have a statute here in WV that allows people injured by the actions of minors to hold the parents of those minors liable up to a specified monetary amount. And while there are some immunity concerns regarding a public school, there are avenues that permit recovery. The extent of your daughter's injuries may play a role in the viability of the case as well, but you may very well have a claim under our state's laws.
These thoughts do not create an attorney-client relationship, but rather are intended to provide you with some thoughts as you consider the courses of action that may be available to you.
The challenge here is that typically school systems are immune from liability a absent tort claims act in your state. Whenever you attempt to hold another responsible for injuries, you need to prove not only damages, but liability. Here, you need to determine whether or not the "boy" had a history of rough-housing /w other students in order to establish liability. If so, you might have a claim, but it does not sound like your child's injuries are that serious, so that limits the damages. Document your concerns to the school administration in writing.
The school system in West Virginia may or may not be immune from suit; I would not venture to gues on that point, but the bigger question in my mind, is what, if anything, did the school system do to contribute to the incident. That would be the neglignece that matters. There is also the question of whether or not your daughter's injuries are substantial enough to warrant the pursuit of a case. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Good luck.
The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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