It's every parent's worst nightmare. You get a phone call at work or at home letting you know that your child has suffered some kind of injury while in the care of their school. If the injury occurred not just at school but while your child was out on a school field trip, you will likely have even more questions to ask about what happened. Here are some tips and questions to consider from a legal perspective while you investigate the situation.
Was the Injury Your Child's Fault, the School's Fault or the Fault of Someone Employed by the Field Trip Host?
After you are sure your child is receiving medical treatment, your next question will be to ask what happened. It's important to listen carefully to whatever adult is giving you the story of what happened. Is your child partially responsible for the injury because they disobeyed a rule? Does it sound like a chaperone provided by the school lost track of your child? Do you believe the host of the field trip destination may have made a mistake that put your child and possibly others in danger? Figuring out the exact sequence of events and the names of all adults your child interacted with before and after the injury is important to building a legal case. You can't file a lawsuit without first figuring out who it needs to be filed against.
Did You Sign a Waiver?
Many schools have required for years that a student's parent sign a waiver of liability form before agreeing to take a child to a field trip off of school property. This waiver can typically state that the school bears no responsibility for anything that happens on the trip. Did you sign one of these waivers? Go and get it and make sure you read the fine print. Even if it clearly says you are waving your legal rights, it might be possible to get the waiver thrown out. You signed that waiver with the expectation that every teacher or chaperone on the trip would at least be competent enough to get your kid back in one piece. If the injury occurred because of someone's obvious negligence, the waiver might no longer apply.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
For best results, reach out to a personal injury attorney near you. He or she can help you investigate the situation and may be able to gather additional evidence, like a security tape of what happened at the site of the field trip. Contact a lawyer today to discuss the next steps.
For more information, reach out to people like Leisawitz Heller.